Bidders line up for PDH/PP job

13 August 2004
Oriental Petrochemicals Company (OPC)has invited four groups to submit revised bids by 31 October for the contract to build the planned propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) complex near Port Said. Three groups were originally prequalified for the contract in 2002, when the project was envisaged as a stand-alone PDH plant: Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation, with Samsung Corporationof South Korea; Germany's Lurgi; and Linde, also of Germany. A fourth group led by Uhdeof Germany is now expected to bid for the contract (MEED 30:4:04).

The groups have been requested to submit two alternative proposals. The first calls for construction of a 400,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) PDH plant which would supply propylene feedstock to a 400,000-t/y PP plant. The second would involve construction of a PDH plant of identical size, but a smaller 200,000-t/y PP plant. In the latter case, the surplus propylene would be used by OPC's existing PP plant at Suez. At present, OPC imports its propylene requirements.

Negotiations are under way with Saudi Arabia's Alujain Corporationover a possible offtake agreement, while OPC is also understood to be targeting the European market. The company is also soliciting interest from Gulf investors in taking an equity stake in the project.

Under the terms of the PDH/PP tender, the successful contractor will be required to take a 20 per cent stake in the project. The other equity shareholders are Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM), with 10 per cent, Export Development Bank, with 5 per cent, Commercial International Bank (CIB), also with 5 per cent, and OPC's parent company, the Oriental Group, with 25-30 per cent. ECHEM is understood to have placed a formal request with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for funding.

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