Petrokimia Gresik and SBRC IPB to Produce Surfactants
Indonesian fertilizer company PT Petrokimia Gresik has signed a collaboration agreement with Surfactant Bioenergy Research Centre (SBRC) of IPB University to operate a mini pilot plant to produce surfactants derived from palm oil.
GRESIK—Indonesian fertilizer company PT Petrokimia Gresik has signed a collaboration agreement with Surfactant Bioenergy Research Centre (SBRC) of IPB University to operate a mini pilot plant to produce surfactants derived from palm oil.
Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants. They are widely used in every walk of life such as individual care products, domestic cleaners, pharmaceuticals, as well as oil recovery.
The product, labelled Surfaktan Merah Putih, is developed from a research by SBRC IPB in collaboration with the Indonesia Oil Palm Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS). It offers advantages as it can lower the surface tension better than any other imported products as well as has more competitive price.
Traditionally, oil recovery in Indonesia adopts primary method (vacuumed up by pumps) and secondary method (involves the injection of water). “Whereas the surfactants are used in tertiary method, widely known as Enhanced Oil Recovery,” President Director of PT Petrokimia Gresik Rahmad Pribadi said in Gresik, East Java, Wednesday (11/3/2020) as reported by Beritasatu.
Surfactants are molecules consisting of hydrophilic portion (water-soluble component) and lipophilic (oil-soluble component) that make water and oil mix together. At oil recovery use, the surfactants are injected to the reservoir to free trapped oil in the well.
"Surfactants may improve crude oil production as well as enhance crude oil production from old wells. This is the most sought-after product for oil and gas companies in Indonesia,” Rahmad said.
Production of Surfaktan Merah Putih needs raw materials that can be made by sulfonation of methyl esters with gaseous SO3. In this case, good quality and stable quantity of SO3 supplies is deemed necessary in this process.
“That is why we entered into the partnership. Under this partnership agreement, Petrokimia Gresik will supply gaseous SO3 from its sulfuric acid plant and purchase methyl esters produced by SBRC IPB at Gunung Putri Bogor," kata Rahmad.
Product marketing will be handled by Petrokimia Gresik and SBRC IPB, supported by Indonesia Oil and Gas Community (Komunitas Migas Indonesia/KMI).
Earlier, SBRC IPB has completed a research on surfactant to produce renewable products derived from palm oil. This research was funded by BPDPKS. Palm oil-based surfactant is one of the potential alternatives for solving problems in petroleum production process. Use of palm oil-based surfactants can also act as stimulant to improve application of palm oil downstream products in various industries in Indonesia, including in food, personal care, detergent industry, and other chemical industries. ***