The units – a 460,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) acetic acid plant, a 50,000-t/y acetic anhydride plant, and a 300,000-t/y VAM plant will be developed in joint venture with Helm Arabia, a joint venture of Germany’s Helmand France’s Thales. They form part of Sipchem’s phase 2 development.

The US’ Eastman Chemical Companycarried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) on the acetic acid/acetic anhydride unit and will provide its in-house co-production technology, in addition to marketing all of the acetic anhydride production. The US’ DuPont Companywill provide the technology for the VAM facility, with the FEED being done by the UK office of US-based Foster Wheeler, which is also the overall project management consultant (PMC).

Sipchem is also gearing up to tender a major offsites and utilities (U&O) package to serve the phase 2 expansion. A carbon monoxide (CO) unit, originally planned to be tendered separately, will now be part of the package. The local SA Kentz Company is the FEED contractor.

The complex is due to come on stream in the second half of 2008.