Egypt’s long-awaited $4.8bn Tahrir petrochemical project looks set to enter the construction phase in 2014, after South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction (E&C) and Germany’s Linde signed a deal with the project owner.

MEED reported in 2012 that Linde had replaced US engineering firm Shaw Group on the project. However, the scheme has struggled to attract financing leading to doubts over its viability.

SK E&C has said it will be a ‘total solution provider’ for the project, providing some of the finance and being responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the $900m polyethylene plant.

Linde will provide the cracker and recovery technology for the project. The complex will include a 3.5-million-tonne-a-year (t/y) naphtha cracker. It will produce 1.35 million t/y of polyethylene, as well as 600,000 t/y of propylene, 210,000 t/y of butadiene and 420,000 of benzene. US firm GE signed a $500m agreement with the project owner, the local Carbon Holdings, in November 2013 to supply technology and for an equity stake, although the percentage was not stated.

Project completion is expected for 2019. The development was originally estimated to cost $3.5bn, but Carbon Holdings now says the figure will be closer to $4.8bn.