South Korea’s Daelim Industrial has been awarded a SR1.1bn ($293m) contract for the construction of the Middle East’s first n-butanol plant, located at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The construction of the 300,0000 tonne-a-year (t/y) n-butanol plant is expected to begin in January 2014, with completion slated for May 2015.

Bids were submitted in mid-2012 by three firms: Daelim Industrial, Tecnimont of Italy, and a joint bid from South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Germany’s Linde.

The deal was awarded by Saudi Butanol Company (Sabuco), a joint venture of three local firms, Saudi Kayan Sadara Chemical Company and the National Industrialization Company (Tasnee). Sadara Chemical Company itself is a joint venture of state-owned Saudi Aramco and the US’ Dow Chemical, which carried out the basic engineering and will provide the technology for the plant.

The n-butanol plant will be operated by Tasnee. At 330,000-t/y, the Sabuco plant will be one of the largest in the world. Global n-butanol capacity currently stands at approximately 4.5 million-t/y, with more 50 per cent of capacity in Asia, 26 per cent in the US and 19 per cent in Europe.