Abu Dhabi has resurrected plans to build a major aromatics chemicals complex in Ruwais with the award of the project’s front-end engineering & design (feed) contract, according to industry sources.

Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company’s (Chemaweyaat) Tacaamol petrochemicals megaproject has suffered several setbacks since its inception five years ago, but now appears to be going ahead as it moves into the design phase.

The feed work was awarded to US engineering group CH2M Hill, who won the contract ahead of several other international engineering companies after the contract was tendered in the fourth quarter of 2012.

CH2M Hill will design an aromatics complex capable of converting 3 million tonnes a year (t/y) of heavy and medium naphtha supplied from Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company’s (Takreer) refinery in Ruwais.

The project will be located at the Madeenat Chemaweyaat Al-Gharbia site, east of the Ruwais refining and petrochemicals complex, along with supporting infrastructure including a dedicated export tank farm, jetty and loading births. The complex, which is the first phase of Chemaweyaat’s Tacaamol megaproject, will use the naphtha feedstock to produce benzene, paraxylene and mixed xylenes.

In April 2012, Chemaweyaat appointed Foster Wheeler as the project management consultant (PMC) for the feed phase of the scheme.

The Tacaamol project, which was initially expected to be completed in 2014, has hit several hurdles since its conception over four years ago. The aromatics complex was planned as part of a larger $11bn complex including polyolefins, polystyrene, polycarbonate plants and several other plants.

US/Finnish group Neste Jacobs signed a long-term frame agreement to provide the feed work on the project in May 2009, which was never completed. Meanwhile Australian engineering group WorleyParsons, which was initially providing consultancy work, also cut ties with the project.

Chemaweyaat is a 100 per cent state-owned company with ownership split between International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).