First ITB out on Sahara cracker

13 August 2004
The local Sahara Petrochemical Company has released the first set of invitation to bid (ITB) documents for the contract to provide ethylene technology and build a major cracker as part of its planned olefins project at Jubail. Sahara is pursuing the petrochemicals complex in partnership with the local Tasnee Petrochemicals, a subsidiary of the local National Industrialisation Company (NIC), Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)and a yet-to-be appointed international partner (MEED 02:07:04).

The first part of the ITB, for the technology supply and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, was sent out as scheduled at the end of July and is due to be followed by the release of the second portion at the end of August. A contract award is scheduled for 1 February 2005.

Five companies - ABB Lummus Global, Shaw International, formerly known as Stone & Webster, and Kellogg Brown & Root, all US-based, Germany's Lindeand Paris-based Technip- have been approached by Sahara for the planned ethane/propane cracker, which will produce more than 1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of ethylene and about 200,000 t/y of propylene.

ITBs are expected to be released in the fourth quarter for the downstream units at the complex, which will include polyethylene and - most likely - vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) elements, to be fed with the cracker's ethylene output. It is understood that the propylene will feed a new polypropylene unit with capacity of about 200,000-225,000 t/y at the nearby Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC)plant, jointly owned by Tasnee and Europe's Basell. The olefins complex is due to be completed in 2007.

Sahara has secured the 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.

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