The joint venture partners developing a new $500m N-Butanol plant in Saudi Arabia have released the tenders for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project.

The project is split equally between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) subsidiary Saudi Kayan, Saudi Aramco and US’ Dow Chemical joint venture the Sadara Chemical Company and the National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee).

The project has been planned since early 2011, but has taken more than a year for the EPC contract tender to be released.  

“This project has been active for some time, but with all joint ventures, the decision making process has taken a little longer due to the number of stakeholders involved,” says a source in Saudi Arabia that is familiar with the contract. “Contractors were prequalified earlier this year and the list of bidders is relatively small for a petrochemicals project in the kingdom.

The project is being tendered on a lump-sum turnkey basis and at least four international EPC contractors have been prequalified for the scheme. They include:

  • Daelim Industrial (South Korea)
  • Linde (Germany)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Tecnimont (Italy)

The scope of works includes the construction of an N-Butanol facility with a capacity of 330,000 tonnes-a-year in Saudi Kayan’s acrylic complex at Jubail Industrial City in the Eastern Province. The basic engineering has been carried out by Dow Chemical, which is also the technology provider.

The bid submission date is 20 July and the winning bidder is expected to be announced in the fourth quarter of 2012. Construction work will commence in 2013 and the stakeholders expect the plant to start production in late 2014.

N-Butanol is used in a wide variety of products, for example, as an artificial flavouring in food products, but is mostly used as an industrial intermediate for the manufacture of butyl acetate.