A final JV agreement is expected to be signed in the first half of this year, with plant commissioning set for 2009.

The planned complex will be integrated into the existing Mesaieed refinery and will comprise: a mixed feedstock cracker, expected to have capacity of about 1 million tonnes a year (t/y) of ethylene; propylene and polypropylene capacity of 900,000 t/y; styrene and polystyrene capacity totalling about 600,000 t/y; aromatics capacity of about 150,000 t/y; and 50,000 t/y of by-products. The cracker will receive naphtha from the nearby natural gas liquids (NGL) complex and ethane from the planned Ras Laffan-Mesaieed pipeline.

The US’ Fluor Corporationhas carried out the pre-front-end engineering and design (FEED) package.

The Mesaieed project will represent the first entry of a South Korean investor into the local petrochemical sector. The other major Korean investor in regional petrochemicals is LG International, which has interests in Oman.