At least six international engineering firms have submitted technical proposals for a major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on the expansion of the Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge) plastics production complex at Ruwais.

The deal covers the construction of facilities to produce polyethylene and polypropylene. Among the bidders for the deal are a consortium of the UK’s Petrofac with South Korea’s Daelim; Taiwan’s China Technical Consultants; a consortium of Italy’s Tecnimont and South Korea’s Samsung; and Germany’s Uhde.

The firms handed in technical bids to Borouge on 14 February. The client has told contractors it will ask for commercial bids in May, after a series of talks on the specifications of the plant. Executives working on proposals for the deal expect Borouge to award the contract early in the third quarter.

The winning firm will build a 130,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) polypropylene unit and a 140,000-t/y polyethylene plant. The work is scheduled to take about two years.

The contract is part of a wider project to expand the Borouge complex. In July 2009, the company awarded a $1.07bn deal to Germany’s Linde to build a 1.5-million-t/y cracker unit to break down ethane, a component of natural gas, into ethylene and propylene. Once completed, the cracker will be one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

Contractors have been asked to submit their engineering proposals for a low density polyethylene plant by 24 February. Meanwhile technical bids on the supporting infrastructure for the complex, the offsites and utilities, are due on 15 March.

Contractors also expect these deals to be awarded early in the third quarter.

The Borouge 3 project will boost the firm’s plastics production at Ruwais by 2.5 million-t/y to 4.5 million-t/y, making it the largest complex of its kind in the world.  

The company is currently in the process of commissioning its second production unit, Borouge 2, which will produce 540,000 t/y of polyethylene and 800,000 t/y of polypropylene.

Borouge plans to launch feasibility studies for a fourth phase of production facilities in 2011, according to sources close to the company.

Two other state entities, Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company (Chemaweyaat) and Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation (Adbic) are also planning major production facilities in the emirate.