South Korea’s Daelim Industrial has emerged as the frontrunner for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for five packages at Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and the US’ ExxonMobil Chemical’s $2bn Elastomers project in Saudi Arabia.

“Daelim is the lowest bidder, but no announcement has yet been made by either joint-venture partner regarding an award,” says a contracting source based in Saudi Arabia. “Whether this will translate into Daelim being given the contract to execute all five … is not yet known.”   

Contractors submitted bids for five packages on a lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) basis. They are: the methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) plant; utilities and offsites; ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) plant; polybutadiene Rubber (PBR); and the carbon black plant.

MEED reported in March that contractors had been asked to submit bundle prices for the packages in a move by the partners to cut costs.

Sabic was not available for comment on when a decision is going to be made when contacted by MEED.

One package, a halobutyl rubber plant (HRP), is being carried out by the US’ Jacobs Engineering on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis due to intellectual property concerns from ExxonMobil.   

Contractors bidding for packages include:

When completed, the facility will produce about 400,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of carbon black, rubber and thermoplastic speciality polymers. The plant will use ExxonMobil technology and the products will be sold on local and international markets.

Much of the output for the plant can be used in the production of numerous components connected to the automotive industry, which falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s industrial diversification programme.  

The scheme will be built at the Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya) complex in the Eastern Province.