The scope of the estimated $250 million contract includes construction of a methanol plant with a capacity of 970,000 tonnes a year (t/y) and associated utilities. Commissioning of the plant is expected in late 2004. The project is being developed by SIPC in consortium with a group of Japanese companies, including Mitsui & Company, Mitsubishi Corporation, Daicel Chemical Industriesand Iino Kaiun Kaisha. Chiyoda bid for the contract against competition from Paris-based Technip-Coflexipand a consortium of South Korea’s LG Engineeringand Foster Wheeler Italiana.

All three bidders submitted their original prices last autumn for the methanol plant as well as for the BDO/MAN plant. However, the BDO/MAN unit, which was to have a capacity of 50,000 t/y, will be retendered, probably in the autumn, with a capacity of 75,000-100,000 t/y, industry sources say.

SIPC is planning two further projects at its complex once the methanol and BDO/MAN plants are under construction. It proposes an acetic acid plant with a capacity of 275,000 t/y and a vinyl acetate monomer plant with a capacity of 250,000 t/y. A world-class ethane cracker has also been mooted, contingent upon an increased supply of feedstock to Jubail in the future. The project manager for the whole complex is the US’ Fluor Daniel.