The other main Equate II shareholder will be the local Boubiyan Petrochemical Company (BPC), whichis expected to own 9-10 per cent. The remaining 5-6 per cent will be offered to a private local investor group. In Equate I, PIC and Dow each hold 45 per cent shares, while the remaining 10 per cent stake is held by BPC.

The new olefins capacity will be fully integrated into the Equate I plant. Under Equate II, an 850,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethane cracker will be built alongside a 600,000-t/y ethylene glycol/ethylene oxide unit. In addition, at least 400,000 t/y of new polyethylene (PE) capacity will be constructed.

Besides supplying feedstock to the new Equate II complex, the new cracker will deliver ethylene to a 300,000-t/y ethyl benzene/styrene unit, which is to be built by a second new project company as part of a planned aromatics complex. PIC will hold a majority stake in the aromatics company, with the remaining shares to be offered to a private local entity. The new company is expected to partner with Dow on the proposed ethyl benzene/styrene unit. The complex will also include a 650,000-t/y benzene and paraxylene unit and a 500,000-t/y monomer aromatics plant.

Commissioning of the new capacity is scheduled for early 2007. The US’ Bechtelis acting as project management consultant (PMC) for the new aromatics complex. A tender is due to be issued soon for the contract to provide PMC services for Equate II and the proposed ethyl benzene/styrene unit.

Feedstock for the additional olefins capacity will be supplied by Kuwait National Petroleum Company, which plans the construction of a KD 110 million ($365 million) ethane recovery unit at Ahmadi. At present KNPC supplies 70-80 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of feedstock to Equate I (MEED 26:9:03).