Diagnostic work to determine the extent of capacity expansion is set for completion in February 2006, and front-end engineering and design (FEED) is expected to be complete by the end of next year. Stone & Webster will also prepare tender documents for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) packages, evaluate technical bids and manage construction work.

Expressions of interest for the 24-36-month EPC packages are expected to be invited in the first quarter of 2006, with invitations to bid to follow in the second quarter and awards at the end of the year. There are likely to be one-two EPC packages for the Arzew complex and one-three packages on the Skikda plant.

Skikda’s 120,000 tonne-a-year (t/y) ethylene unit has been operating below capacity for a number of years, but Stone & Webster plans to use advanced recovery systems to increase capacity by up to 100,000 t/y. The Skikda complex also produces 40,000 t/y of vinyl chloride monomer, 35,000 t/y of polyvinylchloride, 48,000 t/y of low density polyethylene and 10,000 t/y of hydrochloric acid. The aromatics units have capacity of 90,000 t/y of benzene, 5,000 t/y of toluene, 247,000 t/y of xylene and 38,000 t/y of paraxylenes. The Arzew complex has methanol capacity of 100,000 t/y (MEED 17:6:05).