Equate says that its ethylbenzene and 450,000 tonne a year (t/y) styrene monomer units will start operating in the second quarter of 2009. The expansion of its existing polyethylene plant from 600,000 t/y to 825,000 t/y will be completed in the third quarter of 2009.

The completion of the company’s aromatics unit, which is projected to produce 325,000 t/y of benzene, 768,000 t/y of paraxylene and 560,000 t/y of by-products, has also been delayed until an undisclosed date.

Sources close to the aromatics project said in early January that it had been delayed until March (MEED 5:1:09).

All the projects were originally scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2009.

The company declined to comment on the reasons for the delay.

Equate is a joint venture between the US’ Dow Chemical Company, and three Kuwaiti firms, Petrochemicals Industry Company (PIC), Boubyan Petrochemical Company and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company.

The collapse of the $17.4bn K-Dow joint venture of Dow and PIC has not had any effect on the project and Dow remains on board, according to a source with knowledge of the project (MEED 29:12:08).

The Equate olefins complex consists of a 600,000 t/y ethylene glycol unit and a 1.7m t/y ethylene steam cracker, both started in 2008, alongside the ethylbenzene, styrene monomer, and polyethylene plants. Together with the aromatics unit, these projects are known as Greater Equate.

Equate operates the projects through its subsidiaries, The Kuwait Olefins Company, The Kuwait Styrene Company and Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company.