The ethane cracker will take 32 months to build, allowing commissioning to take place in July 2004. It will use the new Scure technology developed by Halliburton.

The other main competitor for the contract, estimated to be worth $350 million, was Germany’s Linde. The US’ ABB Lummus Globalalso bid for the work. The US’ Fluor Danielprepared the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the plant and is the project manager for the entire olefins complex.

The ethane cracker will supply feedstock to a 575,000-t/y ethylene glycol plant, which will be based on technology supplied by the US’ Scientific Design, and a 150,000-t/y linear alpha olefins (LAO) unit. Five international contractors have been invited to bid by late December for the ethylene glycol package. Prospective bidders are Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation, ABB Lummus, Foster Wheeler Corporation, US-based, France’s Technip, and South Korea’s Samsung Engineering.

Basic engineering for the LAO plant is due to be completed in the first quarter of next year. The unit will use the new LAO technology jointly developed by JUPC’s parent company, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), and Linde (MEED 9:11:01). Financing is also proceeding on the project. Banks have been given until 7 December to submit proposals for the $1,154 million debt package. JUPC’s financial adviser is Gulf International Bank.

JUPC, a wholly-owned Sabic subsidiary, was formed in mid-2000. Originally, it also planned to develop a 400,000-t/y polyethylene (PE) plant at its Jubail site. However, it was subsequently decided that it should take a 50 per cent share in a new 800,000-t/y PE plant, being built nearby by another Sabic subsidiary, Arabian Petrochemical Company (Petrokemya).

The award of the JUPC ethylene package means that Sabic has just one major EPC contract award pending, for the 30,000-t/y semi-commercial acetic acid plant at Yanbu. Three companies – ABB Lummus, Foster Wheeler and Technip – are competing for the project, which will use technology developed by Sabic’s Research & Technology division (MEED 17:8:01).