Abu Dhabi revives chemicals plans
Awards on Tacaamol project and Taweelah alumina refinery show emirate is looking to achieve economic masterplan objectives
Five years ago, Abu Dhabi unveiled an ambitious chemicals scheme. The masterplan for the Tacaamol project, developed by Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company (Chemaweyaat), envisioned a scheme $11bn-20bn in size. Under the original timeline, the first phase was set to be finished by next year.
Since then, Tacaamol has made little progress. It has encountered a series of hurdles and undergone several changes. Originally intended to be built at a site in Taweelah – now known as Khalifa Industrial Zone of Abu Dhabi (Kizad) – halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in 2010, the project was relocated to the Madinat Chemaweyaat al-Gharbia site close to Abu Dhabi Refining Company’s (Takreer’s) operations in Ruwais.
In the same year, Finland’s Neste Jacobs signed a framework agreement on the front-end engineering and design (feed) contract and it was later reported that Australia’s WorleyParsons had been awarded the project management consultancy (PMC) deal. These contracts were either never fully signed or were terminated, and by the end of 2011, the feed and PMC timeline were back to square one. Now, it appears Abu Dhabi is resurrecting its petrochemicals vision. The US’ CH2M Hill will carry out the feed and the US’ Foster Wheeler the PMC. The project should now start construction in 2014.
The Tacaamol scheme will help encourage investment and job creation in the Western Region; and economic diversification
The Tacaamol scheme helps serve two of the emirate’s strategic goals: encouraging investment and job creation in the Western Region; and economic diversification. Abu Dhabi is also progressing with its long talked-about Taweelah alumina refinery project. Both suggest a renewed impetus to start achieving some of the objectives of its 2030 economic masterplan.
After a period of introspection in the wake of the global financial crisis and the debt problems in Dubai, Abu Dhabi now needs to get back to focusing on investment and growth.