ORLEN Group’s flagship petrochemical project in the Czech Republic gets launched

Today, Unipetrol, a strategic subsidiary of the ORLEN Group, has officially launched the construction of a new polyethylene unit (PE3) in its Czech production facility in Litvínov. The cornerstone laying ceremony was attended by the Czech Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, Under-Secretary at the Polish Ministry of the State Treasury, Paweł Gruza, and Wojciech Jasiński, CEO and President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN and Chairman of Unipetrol’s Supervisory Board. When completed, the new polyethylene unit (PE3) will be one of the most advanced facilities of this type in Europe.

It is one of the ORLEN Group’s most-awaited investment projects, which will markedly consolidate PKN ORLEN’s position on Central Europe’s chemical and petrochemical markets. The total cost to build the new unit is CZK 5.76bn (EUR 213m), with the project’s overall cost estimated at CZK 8.5bn (EUR 314m). It will add to the total capital expenditure allocated by PKN ORLEN to grow the Czech subsidiary since it entered the local market, and which currently amounts to almost PLN 5bn.

“Today, fully committed to the task at hand, we are opening another phase of our investment project in the Czech Republic. This is a special day not only from the perspective of the ORLEN Group’s strategy, but also for the Czech chemical sector, as it marks another step towards building a modern and innovative Czech economy. It also further confirms that in developing one of our most valuable foreign assets we are not chasing short-term gains, but rather long-term growth benefiting all stakeholders,” emphasises Wojciech Jasiński, CEO and President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.

PKN ORLEN’s determination to strengthen Unipetrol’s position on the local market is also evidenced by the successful closing of recent negotiations with the Czech pipeline operator, Mero, concerning new fees for pipeline transmission of crude oil, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding, creating a new framework for potential joint projects. In May 2016, PKN ORLEN also signed a contract with Saudi Aramco for the supply of crude oil to its refineries, including the Czech refinery.

The new PE3 facility, which is to replace the existing PE1 unit, will have an annual production capacity of 270,000 tonnes. The PE2 polyethylene unit (with a capacity of 200 thousand tonnes per year) will remain on-line. The project will help increase the utilisation of the ethylene unit and facilitate stronger integration of petrochemical and refining production at the Unipetrol Group. Thanks to cutting-edge technologies to be used in the project, the company will be able to reach out to new market segments, including the cosmetic and packaging industries. The new polyethylene unit will be built by Italy’s Technip based on a technology licence obtained by Unipetrol from INEOS in late 2013.