Aramco And Sumitomo Chemical Sign Licensing Agreement For Axens’ AFA Technology

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Saudi Aramco Technologies Company and Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited, have formed a technology partnership with Axens in support of Axens’ AlphaButol® licensed process to enhance 1-butene production by using the AFA™ (Anti-Fouling Agent) technology.

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The AFA technology, jointly developed by Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, works in conjunction with Axens’ catalyst system to substantially reduce undesired polymeric fouling in 1-butene units. Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical have granted Axens the right to sublicense this beneficial technology to existing and prospective licensed units of AlphaButol®.

Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company, an affiliate of Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, and a licensee of AlphaButol®, is the first to benefit from this technology. The AFA technology was effective in broad ranges of industrially relevant operating windows and duration in its 1-butene production units. 

The AFA™ has demonstrated a real breakthrough in unit operation profitability, via higher production rates and reduced maintenance costs, due to lower levels of fouling. Removability of the fouling has also been improved with a substantially easier way to clean the unit, leading to shorter maintenance periods.
Mohammed A. Basaffar
Section Head of Polymer section of the Process Engineering Department in Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company
We are very pleased that Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical have selected Axens as their partner, and we are looking forward to contributing to the success of AFA™ technology with our expertise in this area. We are glad to assist in achieving this milestone, which is a stepping stone to further commercialization of the AlphaButol® technology in the coming years.
Jean Sentenac
Axens Chairman and CEO

About Axens AlphaButol®
Axens AlphaButol® process is the industry’s benchmark for the production of high purity 1-butene via ethylene dimerization. The process operates in the liquid phase using a soluble catalyst system which avoids isomerization of 1-butene to 2-butene; thus superfractionation of the product stream is not needed.

About Saudi Aramco Technologies Company
Saudi Aramco Technologies Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, a leading global integrated energy and chemicals company driven by the core belief that energy is an opportunity. Saudi Aramco Technologies serves as the research arm of Saudi Aramco, specializing in developing and providing downstream technology solutions in the refining and petrochemical area. 

About Sumitomo Chemical
SUMITOMO CHEMICAL COMPANY, LIMITED, is one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, offering a diverse range of products globally in the fields of petrochemicals & plastics, energy & functional materials, IT-related chemicals, health & crop sciences, and pharmaceuticals. Sumitomo Chemical strives to make a contribution to the development of the world's chemical industry and help resolve issues the industry faces by licensing the array of technologies it has cultivated over its many years of experience.

About Axens
Axens is a group providing a complete range of solutions for the conversion of oil and biomass to cleaner fuels, the production and purification of major petrochemical intermediates the chemical recycling of plastics and all natural gas treatment and conversion options. The offer includes technologies, equipment, furnaces, modular units, catalysts, adsorbents and related services. Axens is ideally positioned to cover the entire value chain, from feasibility study to unit start-up and follow-up throughout the entire unit cycle life. This unique position ensures the highest level of performance with a reduced environmental footprint. Axens global offer is based on highly trained human resources, modern production facilities and an extended global network for industrial, technical supports & commercial services. Axens is an IFP Group company.

About PetroRabigh
Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical – Company (Petro Rabigh), was founded in 2005 as a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical. The plant is valued at about US $10 billion and originally produced 18.4 million tons per annum (mtpa) of petroleum-based products and 2.4 mtpa of ethylene and propylene-based derivatives. Petro Rabigh products are used as feedstock to produce chemical compounds such as polyols, polymer stabilizers, xylenes and solvents.
Petro Rabigh II is an expansion project valued at the US $9 billion that reached full production by 4th Quarter 2017 and provided a wide range of new high value-added products, some of which are exclusive to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

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