The local National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal) is evaluating bids for an engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract for its $200m expansion at its complex in Yanbu on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

The project is called HiPOL (High Pressure Oxidation Line) and the winning contractor will be responsible for the project from basic engineering to commissioning.

“The bids went in for this project at the end of October with an award expected in January,” says a source familiar with the deal. “While it is not a huge project, it is interesting work and would make a nice start to 2012 for the successful contractor.”

There are four international contractors who have submitted bids and they are:

  • Foster Wheeler (US)
  • KBR (US)
  • Technip (France)
  • Worley Parsons (Australia)

The timeline for the project means that after the award is made, the design phase will start for all of the different components of the project. This is due to end in September 2012 with the construction phase beginning in November.

“The tenders for the construction contracts should be released around June with much of the procurement done at around the same time,” says the source.

The construction phase will last for around 24 months with full start-up expected for late 2014 or early 2015.

Titanium dioxide is used for many products, including dyes for paints and as the base for electronic chemicals, as well as post-combustion catalysis for gasoline diesel engines. The Yanbu plant currently has a capacity of 180,000 tonnes a year.

Cristal is the world’s second-largest producer of titanium dioxide and other titanium chemicals. As well as its complex in Yanbu, it has manufacturing plants in five other countries.

Headquartered in Jeddah the company is 66 per cent owned by the National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee)