Industries | Petrochemicals

KBC works across all elements of the business construct in petrochemicals to maximise Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) through maximising revenues and minimising costs whilst minimising capital employed and maintaining operator’s “licence to operate”. We create and sustain value by effectively converting strategy to results through technical excellence under-pinned by engineering simulation and analytics, sustaining performance through winning operating models and best practices that are powered by cloud, manufacturing execution system (MES) and automation technologies.


The US is rapidly regaining its historic position as a dominant exporter to global petrochemical derivatives markets. The lifting of the US crude export ban and rapid development in North America of shale gas and NGLs (both ethane and LPG) as low cost petrochemical feedstock is disrupting the competitive landscape.

Success in petrochemicals used to be primarily about cost leadership but is becoming increasingly about product leadership. Petrochemical producers are pursuing upstream refinery-petrochemical integration (RPI) or progression into more specialty products as much as possible.

Strategy and Business Excellence

Delivering production-centred competitive advantage starts with holding the optimum portfolio of assets and projects in relation to the business environment and managing working capital through optimal sourcing of feedstocks and just in time product delivery to market. Thereafter, smart operations delivering manufacturing excellence through focused technology application, production integrity and sustainable workforce development ensures safety, cost containment and overall margin maximisation.

Enabled by KBC Energy Economics’ capabilities in petroleum market economics analysis, we deliver data-driven investment decision support to petrochemical producers to help deliver maximum value to their shareholders through:
  • Business and financial analyses / modelling
  • Price forecasts based on market fundamentals
  • Market insights, studies and competitor analyses
  • Capital allocation and portfolio evaluation
  • Feasibility studies, investment appraisals and due diligence (technical, commercial and HSE)

    In petrochemical manufacturing converting strategy to results requires the alignment of people, systems, and tools in the business operating model to deliver safe and reliable production while ensuring value to all key stakeholders. Our Operational Excellence model contains the processes, practices, and procedures of how the business should be operated and monitored, and how the staff interact with and influence the business. The model outlines the vision, objectives, and ambitions of the business, defines the operating business model and continuous improvement process, and clarifies the roles, behaviours, codes of conduct, and governance that the staff utilise as part of their involvement in the business.

Production Optimisation

Over the short term, market volatility is a key influencer of the fortunes of many petrochemical producers. Their ROCE performance, and indeed survival, is determined by their ability to maximise revenue generation by riding fluctuations in the market which means being agile. Agility for producers means possessing operational flexibility to readily ramp up production to exploit market opportunities in different products and turn down production to mitigate risk; thereby riding market volatility.

We provide solutions that enable producers to generate maximum revenues by safely maximising production of the highest value products demanded in the market at any point in time based on plant constraints and the best available feedstocks. We remove losses, feed quality constraints and process constraints inhibiting achievement of optimal yields and throughputs from process units and the plant. We do this safely through facility and unit feedstock quality changes (particularly in refinery-integrated facilities), debottlenecking, revamps / upgrades and other changes to unit and facility operating conditions.

Cost Optimisation

One of the key levers for petrochemical manufacturers to enhance their ROCE performance in reduced profitability and capital-constrained business environments is through minimising operating costs and also ensuring capital efficiency associated with capital project development. Our solutions to these challenges are rigorous, accurate and holistic in representing unit-specific and refinery-wide interactions. We combine technical excellence, deep industry domain knowledge and operating experience to provide solutions in both of these areas:

  • Operating costs. We minimize operating costs through energy efficiency optimization and also improvement in asset care and maintenance (including reliability and maintenance).
  • Capital project efficiency. We improve capital efficiency associated with plans to build new facilities, upgrade or revamp existing ones by undertaking cold-eyes reviews of concepts to ensure they sustainably meet the needs of the market over the life of the asset, as efficiently and profitably as possible, entailing minimum capital expenditure.

    People and Organisation

Any successful petrochemical manufacturing operating model which converts strategy into results requires alignment of people, systems, and tools to deliver safe and reliable production while delivering value to all key stakeholders. People require clear definition of decision rights and governance. Results can only be achieved by effective human capital management – having the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills applied in the right way, with the right management system infrastructure around them. This is no easy task with tightening HSE legislation and growing demand for products in emerging markets requiring new production.
At the shop floor level, our training solutions leverage experience from working with hundreds of production facilities around the world to develop comprehensive training models that drive performance excellence for the shift team positions. These models are comprised of a combination of standard principle-level training and custom-developed, site-specific training.

Cloud Enabled Performance Management

Cloud computing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) have created the opportunity to remotely access data from clients’ operations and their supply chains, enabling delivery of new ways to sustain performance at lower cost. Facility process data when combined with unstructured data such as operators’ written logs, creates “Big Data”. We apply real-time analytics such as statistical and rigorous models to interpret this data and produce actionable information.

Our methodologies for sustaining performance are progressive. We provide innovative and effective performance management solutions under our Sustainability and Continuous Improvement Program (SCIP) in each of the three areas influencing sustained operational excellence: People, Processes and Facilities.

Applied Technology

Petrochemical manufacturing operations are highly complex and very risky. There are a number of engineering variables and trade-offs which need to be taken into consideration, such as variation in quality specifications, fluctuating product demand, yield and energy trade-offs, process unit design capacities, catalyst degradation, fluctuating feed quality, supply chain planning and scheduling, variable equipment degradation rates based on operating modes, etc. Human factors play a big part in ensuring safe and efficient production.



Operate your facilities more profitably, manage environmental and operational risk, and deliver effective capital-investment projects with KBC's market-leading software solutions. LEARN MORE >>



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