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Interviews

ADVANCED POLYOLEFIN SOLUTIONS FOR THE GLOBAL ENERGY INDUSTRY

Borouge and Borealis work closely with their customers and industry partners to provide value-creating plastics solutions that make energy management and transmission more efficient and reliable

Borouge, a leading polyolefins manufacturer, was founded in 1998 as a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Austria’s Borealis, an established and globally acknowledged provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions.

In collaboration with Borouge, Borealis provides services and products to customers around the world in wide-ranging areas of polyolefins applications, viz. energy, automotive, consumer products, and pipe. The companies are leading provider of polyolefin compounds for the global wire and cable industry, including cable insulation and protection systems for power transmission and power distribution cables and capacitor films.

Borouge underwent major expansions in the form of expansion programmes Borouge 2 and Borouge 3 taking the total production capacity to a voluminous 4.5 tonnes per annum (with the start-up of Borouge 3 in 2015). Together Borouge 1, 2 & 3 form one of the largest polyolefin producing complexes in the world, and the combined Borealis and Borouge annual polyolefins production capacity will subsequently increase to 8 million tonnes.

On the margins of Wire 2016 in Germany, Wire & Cable India interacted jointly with the representatives of Borealis and Borouge, Mr. Alfred Stern, Executive Vice President, Polyolefins and Innovation & Technology, Polyolefins, Borealis; and Mr. Roland Janssen, Vice President Marketing, Centre Energy, Borouge. They furnished important details as to what it takes to produce quality chemicals consistent with the changing requirements of customer segments they serve.

Wire & Cable India: Tell us about new developments at Borouge.

Roland Janssen: The Borouge 3 project is complete. This is a major milestone for Borouge. We’ve upgraded our entire logistics operation and enhanced our talent base to deliver our new capacity and gain efficiency. Our customers can look forward to increased availability and our expanded offering of wire, cable and capacitor film solutions.

Alfred Stern: I would say that expansion in the form of Borouge 3 is a very important step to produce the materials locally to serve the region. It is also important to mention that Borouge opened their new innovation center in Abu Dhabi last year to foster a close network between Borealis and Borouge to develop new solutions for various segments targeted by us. It’s important that we have local capability to innovate and to be able to produce and supply the materials in the region.

WCI: Do you have some specific strategy for the Indian wire and cable market?

RJ: First of all, the Indian market is very important to us due to its growth potential. In addition to this, the government’s initiatives to expand the capacity of the power grid and the country’s fiber optic network are also opening up new opportunities for material producers like us. This fits in very well with our strategy and investment direction to support the growth of the Indian market. We are also looking into differentiated products to ensure that we meet the market’s unique needs. For instance, one of these products is a high density PE with termite resistant properties – we were the first producer in the market to introduce such a material.

WCI: Keeping in view the Govt.’s announcements for power and telecom sector, what kind of growth do you foresee happening in the Indian market?

RJ: Overall we expect a strong growth of the Indian wire and cable market across the different segments.

Last year, we already saw a very strong fiber optic cable market driven by the government’s Fibre to the Home (FTTH) initiative. This year, we additionally see a strong demand in the distribution cable market. We are furthermore getting very positive signs from the transmission cable segment including, very interestingly for us, from high-voltage DC, which is a new technology for the Indian market.

This is very good news for us as we are considered a frontrunner for producing material suitable for this technology.

AS: As Borouge and Borealis, we are offering global solutions to our customers and ensuring that product offerings are globally aligned across the world. One of such solutions is for the high-voltage DC. We have been working on this for a couple of years along with our development partner ABB. This specialized solution was launched in the end of year 2014. The first product in this category that we tested can be used for insulation in 525 KV DC cable – a very important solution, effective for long distance transportation of electrical energy.

The high-voltage DC solution is important for India and, of course, Europe, where you are looking at offshore wind farms and electricity being produced in the regions far off from consumption centers. You need to carry the electricity over long distances to cities very efficiently, and one way to do that is high-voltage DC. In future, we are hoping to extend the solutions to even higher voltage range.

WCI: Can you give some idea of the voltage-range you are contemplating to extend to?

AS: I don’t know what the exact number would be, but we will push it as far as we can. I am sure that with the innovation capability we have, we will achieve the highest voltage range possible. Together with Borouge’s Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi, we have three other big innovation centers, one each in Austria, Sweden, and Finland. The one in Sweden is especially focused at the wire and cable segment. Moreover, we have just announced that we would be doing more investments to increase the innovation and testing capacity for materials aimed at meeting the changing requirements of energy transportation.

WCI: Being a technology leader in what you do with a strong R&D set-up, what is the most important while designing solutions for the wire and cable segment? Your suggestions for the Indian wire and cable industry.

RJ: I think quality and purity consistency, which of course lead to reliability and efficiency; this is the key element for the line of products we make. If you look at the grid development in India, the reliability of grids has always been a challenge. System breakdowns and power transmission and distribution losses are major concerns. All of this can be improved by utilizing specific, better quality insulation materials for underground cables. Our cable insulation and cable protection solutions can help immensely in increasing the reliability of cable systems.

WCI: Would you like to add something before we conclude?

AS: Our philosophy is Value Creation through Innovation. We work closely with our customers to know the trends and future requirements to shape solutions that we provide. We have built Borouge to be the biggest polyolefin production complex in the world – no other place to produce 4.5 million tonnes of materials – to serve customers in India and across the region.

 

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