Seven international engineering firms have submitted their final bids for the estimated $500m-plus deal to build a new petrochemicals plant at Arabian Industrial Fibre Company’s (Ibn Rushd) Yanbu production complex as part of a wider scheme to boost plastics production at the site.

The firms handed in prices for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on 17 August and hope to be told who submitted the lowest bid in October or November.

The project covers the construction of a new aromatics unit at the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) affiliate’s Yanbu complex. It will to produce benzene, paraxylene, metaxylene and orthoxylene, basic chemicals used in the production of a variety of plastics and styrenics and as gasoline additives. The plant will boost the aromatics processing capacity at the complex to 600,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 350,000 b/d currently.

The bidders include:

  • CTCI Corporation (Taiwan)
  • Daelim (South Korea)
  • GS Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (China)
  • SK Engineering  & Construction (South Korea)

The US’ Fluor completed front end engineering and design studies for the project earlier in 2010 and continues to advise Ibn Rushd on the project.

The aromatics plant is just one of a series of new projects at the Yanbu complex.

Contractors have been given until 27 August to submit technical bids for a deal to build a new 350,000 tonne a year (t/y) purified terephthalic acid (PTA) unit at Yanbu for the firm, with an 18 September cut-off scheduled for commercial proposals. This project will double PTA production at the complex. The same group of contractors is expected to bid for the EPC deal to build it.

The aromatics and PTA projects are part of a wider scheme to boost production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at the plant. PET is a plastic used in plastic bottles, which Ibn Rushd sells it in a resin form and is in the process of increasing the capacity of an existing unit.

Paraxylene is one of the main feedstocks used in the production of PTA, along with acetic acid, while PTA is one of the key parts of PET production.