Skip to main content

Mr. Jean-Paul Laugier

Vice President Ethylene Product Line, Technip

Position / Experience:
Jean-Paul has the responsibility for developing conditions to improve Technip’s ethylene business across the entire Technip Group (including former Stone & Webster). He is in charge of marketing, R&D as well as follow-up of tendering and project execution.
He has more than 30 years of experience with Technip mainly in the field of ethylene. His background includes R&D and patents, project execution and start-up activities.

A graduate chemical engineer with an MS degree in chemical engineering from Nancy France, Jean-Paul also is a postgraduate instructor at IFP School.


10:40 a.m. - 11:20 a.m., 25 August 2015

Ethylene is the basic building block of the petrochemical industry. Over time, new challenges will drive the technology as it evolves and improves. These challenges vary by timeline, region and location.

Present manufacturing capacity.
From 2000 to 2013, worldwide ethylene production increased from 100 million metric tons/year (metric MMtpy) to 155 MMtpy. More than 70% of the new capacity is from massive investment in two parts of the world—the Middle East (ME) and China. The ME’s production capacity increased from 6.5 metric MMtpy to 30 metric MMtpy, while production in Chinagrew from 4.3 metric MMtpy to 20 metric MMtpy.

Mega-ethylene plants.
In the ME during the same time, most new projects were based on very large ethylene capacity plantdesigns. Since 2005, 15 steam crackers using light gas as the feedstock were designed with a base-plate capacity exceeding 1 metric MMtpy. After this wave of capital investment, world-scale ethyleneplant capacity increased from 1.3 metric MMtpy to 1.5 metric MMtpy. A decade earlier, the design base for a world-scale, grassroots ethylene complex ranged from 0.6 metric MMtpy to 0.8 metric MMtpy—half of the throughput of present-day mega-ethylene facilities. This new manufacturing (processing) scale has improved the specific investment cost (investment per ton of ethylene produced). In the past, the growth of the Chinese ethylene industry was based on liquid feedstocks. Due to limited hydrocarbon resources, in particular, naphtha availability (the industrystandard in the 1990s), about half of the new ethylene capacity was based on heavy-feedstock cracking (end-boiling points above 1,000°F/540°C). This feedstock shift to the lower-cost, heavier hydrocarbons has improved profitability.

North American shale gale.
At present, the wide availability of inexpensive ethane from shale gas in North America is reviving the petrochemical industry. Most ethylene projects have a world-scale capacity of 1.5metric MMtpy, as demonstrated in the ME a few years ago. Additionally, many existing LPG/naphtha crackers arebeing adapted to crack ethane to improve profitability.The shift from naphtha to ethane has drastically reducedpropylene production from steam crackers. On-purpose propylene production projects based on new technical solutions are being awarded to fill this olefin gap.

Other ethylene feedstock options.
In Europe and India, to maintain competitiveness, new projects are being developed to produce ethylene from refinery off gases. Capturing the petrochemical vs. fuel gas value of the olefins can help compensate for expensive naphtha usage. In India, a recent cracker project for Reliance is the best example of a new world-scale ethylene complex (1.4 metric MMtpy) based only on refinery offgases asthe feedstock. The project is part of an expansion of the Jamnagar refining and petrochemical complex in Gujarat.

Opportunities in the future.
At locations where hydrocarbon feedstock is lacking, the petrochemical industry has developed new technologies to produce olefins from coal. In China, for example, these technologies will provide only 2% of olefins production. By 2020, the footprint of ethylene based on coal is expected to grow to nearly 20%. For the ME, new steam-cracker projects are shifting to mixed feedstock (ethane/LPG/naphtha/gasoil) to provide a wider range of olefins while maintaining the flexibility to adapt production to meet market demand. These “mixed-cracker units” may become the new standard of the ethylene industry. Most importantly, the petrochemical industry is adapting to meet more stringent health, safety and environmental (HSE) norms. This is particularly true in the US, where new technologies are available to satisfyy air-emission regulations, such as those detailed in the US Clean Air Act. In addition, NOx emissions have been reduced by a factor of two over the last decade.Globally, new waste-treatment technologies are being implemented to reduce impacts on the environment. Adaption to these technologies is driving new standards for design, review and operation to ensure a safe working environment.

Innovative industry.
The petrochemical industry is dynamic; it continuously finds new solutions to the changing marketplace. In approaching the next decade, operating companies thatunderstand the global market drivers and the latest technologies will provide the best solutions to improve profitability and comply to the HSE rules

Page summary

Summarization in progress