Petrochemicals Holding Company (Echem) has asked international contractors bidding for a deal to build a new $2bn petrochemicals plant at Alexandria to extend their bid bond validity until the end of March 2011.

Echem was due to open bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal in July or August. It previously sought an extension to the end of 2010, while it settled its shareholder financing for the scheme. Prices are yet to be opened and bidders are still waiting for news from the state-owned petrochemicals producer, a source close to the deal tells MEED (MEED 29:10:10).

Four firms submitted technical bids at the end of February 2010 and initial commercial bids one month later in March. Commercial bids were offered on 4 July after Echem finalised the technical details of the project with the bidding firms:

  • Toyo (Japan)
  • Samsung Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Saipem (Italy)
  • Tecnimont (Italy)

The development is part of a 20-year masterplan to develop petrochemicals industry that Egypt unveiled in 2002. It involves investments of $10-20bn. The proposed plant will crack ethane, a component of natural gas, breaking it down into ethylene, the most basic building block of the petrochemicals industry. It will produce between 750,000 and 1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of ethylene, which will then be used to produce polyethylene, a basic plastic.

The technology for the complex will be supplied by the US’ ABB Lummus, which completed front-end engineering and design studies for the scheme in September 2009.