Lurgi beat off competition from two other contractors – Germany’s Linde and Oslo-based Aker Kvaerner – to win the contract to build the unit, which, with capacity of 340,000 tonnes a year (t/y), will the largest ever built. The plant will provide CO feedstock for the 460,000-t/y acetic acid plant planned at the complex. Saudi Aramco is providing gas feedstock for the CO unit.

The other downstream units at the complex comprise a 50,000-t/y acetic anhydride unit and a 300,000-t/y vinyl acetic monomer (VAM) plant. An award is imminent for the contract to build the VAM, acetic acid and acetic anhydride plants, with the US’ Fluor Corporation and Aker Kvaerner left in the race. The offsites and utilities (O&U) package, which was originally planned to be incorporated with the CO unit package, will now be let separately (MEED 13:1:06).

The client on the CO unit and purification plant is a local joint venture (JV) of Sipchem and National Power Company (NPC). Sipchem is developing the downstream units in partnership with Helm Arabia, a JV of Germany’s Helm and France’s Thales. The UK office of the US’ Foster Wheeler is the overall project management consultant (PMC – MEED 7:10:05).