Foreign partners line up

18 May 2006

Sonatrach is moving ahead with plans to allow international companies to take equity stakes in five integrated petrochemicals projects at Skikda and Arzew, as well as a fuel oil catalytic cracking plant and a refinery. Technical proposals for five projects have been opened on its estimated $15,000 million petrochemicals programme. However, one other project failed to attract a single bid.

Two companies, Japan's Itochu Corporation and Saudi Arabia's Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), have submitted technical bids for the construction of the integrated polyolefins complex at Skikda. The facility will have capacity of 225,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of polypropylene (PP), 400,000 t/y of polyethylene (PE) and 300,000 t/y of ethylene glycol.Three groups have submitted offers to partner on the integrated propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and PP production complex at Arzew. They are Europe's Basell with Saudi Arabia's Zamil Group, Itochu and Sabic. The plant will have capacity of 420,000 t/y of PDH and 350,000 t/y of PP.

Two groups have submitted bids for the fuel oil catalytic cracking plant and 75,000 t/y linear alkyl benzene complex at Skikda. The bidders are a group of France's Total with the local Naftec (Societe Nationale de Raffinage de Petrole) and a consortium of Stone & Webster, part of the US' Shaw Group with Basell and Zamil.

Sonatrach also said six companies have submitted technical offers for contracts to build an ethane cracker with capacity of about 1 million t/y at Skikda and a 1 million-t/y methanol plant at Arzew. However, it did not reveal the bidders' names.

Commercial offers on all projects are due to be submitted in July and will be followed by contract awards later in the month. However, it has scrapped plans to build a 253,000-t/y purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and 120,000 t/y polyethylene terephthalate (PET) complex after receiving no bids.

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