The local Sahara Petrochemical Companyis due to release invitations to bid (ITBs) to international companies for the contract to provide ethylene technology and to build a major cracker as part of its planned olefins project at Jubail (MEED 11:06:04).

The five members of the ethylene club – US-based ABB Lummus Global, Shaw International, formerly known as Stone & Webster, and Kellogg Brown & Root, Germany’s Lindeand Paris-based Technip– have been approached by Sahara for the planned 1.3 million-tonne a year (t/y) ethane cracker and were due to make presentations to the client in late June/early July.

The release of the ITB for the technology supply and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) portions will be phased, with the first due out in July. A contract award is scheduled for 1 February 2005.

ITBs are also expected to be released in the next three months for the downstream units at the complex, which will include polyethylene and polypropylene. The complex is due to come on stream in 2007.

Sahara, recently established by the local AH Al-Zamil Groupas a holding company dedicated to investing in the domestic petrochemicals sector, will take a 25 per cent stake in the cracker and olefins complex, with the local Tasnee Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of the local National Industrialisation Company (NIC), and Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)taking another 25 per cent each. The remaining 25 per cent is to be offered to an international partner.

Sahara has already secured ethane and propane feedstock for the project from Saudi Aramcoand has appointed Fluor Danielof the US for the provision of project management consultancy (PMC) services.

Several other cracker projects are planned in the kingdom, including one at a new complex planned for Yanbu by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)and another at its Jubail-based affiliate Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq – MEED 18:6:04).