International engineering firms have submitted preliminary bids for a new petrochemicals project in Saudi Arabia.

They handed the technical proposals in to the local Arabian Industrial Fibers Company (Ibn Rushd) on 27 August. The company, an affiliate of regional petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has set an 18 September cut-off date for commercial proposals on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal.

The winning bidder will build a 350,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant, which will act as an expansion of an existing 350,000 t/y production unit at Ibn Rushd’s Yanbu petrochemicals complex on the Red Sea coast.

Companies that bid on the contract 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 project is 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 in a resin form.

Earlier in September, the same group of companies submitted final bids for an associated $500m aromatics plant. This plant will produce the basic chemicals benzene, paraxylene, metaxylene and orthoxylene, which are 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.

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. Ibn Rushd is also planning a new PET unit under the plans, but is yet to tender the EPC contract for this part of the scheme.