The US’s Dow Chemical has confirmed that no decision has yet been taken on technology or product mix at its $15bn joint venture petrochemicals plant with Saudi Aramco at Jubail.

Speaking to MEED at the K Show in Dusseldorf, Dow’s Middle East president Markus Wildi said that it was too early to commit on specifics, while the front-end engineering and design (feed) study is ongoing.

Year Delivered ethane gas
2005 1.079
2006 1.027
2007 1.033
2008 1.022
2009 1.114
Figures in trillions of BTUs per day
Source: Saudi Aramco 

“The project is in the feed stage and that should be completed in the middle of next year,” Wildi said.  “Only when the feed study is complete will we be able to make a decision on the product mix and the technologies we use.”

Wildi refused to confirm MEED’s report that France’s Technip was designing a dual-use cracker for the Aramco/Dow project, which could process the natural gas butane, along with limited amounts of ethane and naphtha or build  two separate crackers (MEED 29:8:10).

“There is not much ethane left in the Middle East,” Wildi said. “People are looking at flexi-crackers, but the question is can you make them competitive? We will have to see how that develops.”

The engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the scheme will be released after the feed study is completed with prequalification due to begin in early 2011. Construction work is due to begin in early 2012.