The US’ Dow Chemical is planning to build a $100m facility in Jubail that will produce its patented FilmTec reverse osmosis elements that are used in desalination.

The project is being developed by Dow Water & Process  Solutions (DW&PS) and will be built next to the $20bn Sadara Chemical Company complex in Jubail in the Eastern Province (MEED 1:8:11).

“This is the first time [Dow] has invested in such a plant outside of the United States,” says Ilham Kadri commercial director, DW&PS in the EMEA. “Saudi Arabia is the largest market for desalinated water in the world so we think this is an exciting opportunity for us.”  

Kadri also says that DW&PS is in talks with an as yet unnamed local company about forming a partnership and would do so if the opportunity was viable. She declined to reveal the capacity, but says it will be “world-scale”.

The completion date for the project is late 2014 or early 2015 and a two-year construction period is expected.

This means prequalification for the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for the plant should begin in early 2012, with tenders released in the second quarter and a decision by the fourth quarter.

When completed, DW&PS plans to use its staff to train local people to use the manufacturing equipment. Kadri declined to state how many jobs would be created, but it is believed the figure will run into several hundred.