The estimated $250 million-350 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package covers the construction of a 460,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) acetic acid plant, to produce acetic acid and 50,000-t/y of acetic anhydride, and a 300,000-t/y VAM plant. The scheme will be initially awarded on a cost reimbursable basis, and converted into a lump-sum turnkey contract by the end of the second quarter of next year.

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 carried out by the UK office of US-based Foster Wheeler, which is also the overall project management consultant (PMC). Sipchem is developing the scheme in joint venture with Helm Arabia, a joint venture of Germany’s Helmand France’s Thales.

The second package out to tender covers offsites and utilities (O&U) and the construction of the 265,000-t/y carbon monoxide (CO) unit and purification plant, which will provide feedstock for the acetic acid unit. Lurgi, Linde and Aker Kvaerner have already submitted technical proposals for the estimated $175 million-250 million EPC contract. Commercial offers are due to be submitted in November, with an award expected by year-end.

The CO and O&U scheme is being developed by a joint venture of Sipchem and the local National Power Company (NPC). Saudi Aramcois providing the feedstock for the CO plant. The local SA Kentz Company is the FEED contractor. The complex is due to come on stream in the second half of 2008.