Martina Azcurra Executive Manager – Chemicals, YPF QUÍMICA
"We want YPF to become a reference for sustainability and circular economy by creating projects that position us a leading pioneer for plastic recycling."
Can you provide an overview of YPF QUÍMICA’s recent performance?
In H2 2021, chemical prices were trending up as a consequence of post-pandemic recovery, which contributed to robust performance. We have a production of 900,000 t/y. In the first half of 2022, that market trend remained, and we closed with a production increase of 12% and an equivalent sales volume. As for milestones achieved, YPF QUÍMICA grew regionally focusing on Brazil’s chemical market, where we increased sales by approximately 20%. From an innovation standpoint, we made field tests of oil and gas products with successful results with the technological support from Y-TEC, which we hope we can soon produce on an industrial scale.
Another important issue for YPF QUÍMICA is sustainability and circular economy. In 2022 we will start operating a modular pyrolysis plant to transform plastics. The main objective of this module is to get to know the technology and how to integrate it into productive processes, using in a first stage the plastics that YPF generates from its operations as a raw material. We are also taking part in a consortium for the construction of a recycling plant at an industrial level, moving forward with feasibility studies to advance this project.
How are rising energy prices highlighting the importance of Vaca Muerta?
Throughout the years, the company has improved its knowledge of Vaca Muerta, and as a consequence, has advanced in the optimization of its operations, focusing investments in the most profitable areas. To illustrate this importance in 2022, YPF plans to invest US$3.8 billion, out of which US$2.6 billion are planned for the development of Vaca Muerta. This represents an investment increase of approximately 40% with respect to 2021.
What are the plans at Profertil to increase urea and ammonia production?
YPF QUÍMICA studies projects aimed at adding value to the production of gas from Vaca Muerta, not only for fertilizers but also plastics and methanol. Through our JV with Profertil, we are assessing the expansion of their plant by adding an additional production train of approximately 1.4 million t/y, which will help supply a growing regional market.
What are the highlights from YPF QUIMICA’s 2022 sustainability report?
In 2022 YPF QUÍMICA will publish its first sustainability report including the performance of 2020 and 2021. In this report, we highlight the search for opportunities and resources for the energy transition with a long-term horizon and a commitment to contribute to a carbon neutral power matrix. YPF’s operational excellence policy expresses our responsibility with people’s safety and the care of the environment through the reduction of our carbon footprint.
As an industry we are faced with the global challenge of reducing chemical waste, for which we are developing chemical recycling projects. We also have a focus on diversity and equality, with a specific plan for a detailed follow-up of these issues, and the participation of members of our team in a women’s leadership program called LiFe. Finally, we are working with community integration initiatives, such as the La Plata nursery industrial complex.
How are you working with Y-TEC on renewable energy?
Y-TEC is the leading company in technological solutions for sustainable energy in the region. It is working along with YPF on plan for the reduction of greenhouse emissions in operations based on a profitable growth of the renewable energy market. One of our initiatives is the hydrogen consortium, a collaborative space to promote the hydrogen economy.
What are YPF QUÍMICA’s vision and priorities for Argentina’s petrochemical industry in the years ahead?
We want YPF to become a reference for sustainability and circular economy by creating projects that position us a leading pioneer for plastic recycling. Our vision is of a petrochemical industry that monetizes the growth of natural gas production at Vaca Muerta for the benefit of Argentina, stimulating investment into innovation that enables competitive and sustainable business.