Interview: Cristian Hedesiu, marketing manager, Orpic
"We are innovating on a continuous basis. Recently, we launched a new product - polypropylene for thermoforming applications - which is a very transparent material used for food packaging," says Cristian Hedesiu, marketing manager, Orpic, in an interview.
"We are innovating on a continuous basis. Recently, we launched a new product – polypropylene for thermoforming applications – which is a very transparent material used for food packaging," says Cristian Hedesiu, marketing manager, Orpic, in an interview.
Please elaborate on the versatile applications of polypropylene across various industries?
Orpic’s polypropylene plant produces 17 different grades of homopolymer. Polypropylene is a plastic, widely used in different applications such as rigid and flexible packaging, automotive, healthcare and hygiene. It has a wealth of applications and is presently one of the fastest growing polymers among all other standard plastics.
Polypropylene is also widely used in different compounds. Thanks to its low costs, versatility and manufacturability, polypropylene has a very high market share in the plastics industry.
Apart from polypropylene, which are the other polymers manufactured by Orpic and which sectors are using these polymers?
As you may know, at this moment, we are producing only polypropylene homopolymers. However by 2020, Orpic is going to produce polypropylene block copolymers and polypropylene random copolymers also. We are also going to produce polyethylene, which will be in the form of HDPE, high density polyethylene, and LLDPE, linear low density polyethylene. Target applications of the HDPE and LLDPE are more or less the same as applications of polypropylene – flexible and rigid packaging, automotive, healthcare, compounds, appliances etc. Polypropylene and polyethylene could be used more or less for the same applications.
In terms of value for 2016, can you explain the position of polymers in the overall business of Orpic?
I would like to say that polymers had a very small share in the overall business of Orpic in 2016. However, by 2020, the share of polymers in the overall business of Orpic is going to make major increase because of the expansion of polymer business from 300,000 metric tonnes to 1.5 million metric tonnes.
Expected to be complete in 2019, Liwa Plastics Industries Complex – a steam cracker project – will process light ends produced in Orpic’s Sohar refinery and its aromatics plant as well as optimise natural gas liquids extracted from the presently available natural gas supplies. The project’s concept lies in rerouting elements of existing production in combination with additional purchased feedstocks to deliver high-value polymer products for the local and global markets. Its main objective is to further enhance the value addition that can be obtained from Omani crude oil and natural gas.
As a transformational project, Orpic’s Liwa Plastics Industries Complex will enhance the company’s product mix and business model. It will double its profit and support the development of a downstream plastics industry in the Sultanate. The complex will create new business opportunities and employment in Oman, taking advantage of the growing global market for plastics. The project will firmly establish Orpic as a major player in the global petrochemical landscape. Liwa Plastics Industries Complex will bring new business development opportunities for the Sultanate in the fast growing plastics industry.
Are there any innovations in polymers from Orpic in the last three years?
We are innovating on a continuous basis. I can give you a recent example. Recently, we launched a new product – polypropylene for thermoforming applications, which is a very transparent material used for food packaging. We are continuously developing our product portfolio through innovations. Additionally, we are building a very strong research and development team in Orpic in order to innovate further. In terms of innovations in the future, we are targeting the infrastructure sector in pipe applications. We are also targeting innovations in high tenacity raffia.