Lurgi to supply mega-methanol technology

28 November 2004
Germany's Lurgihas been awarded the contract to provide its in-house mega-methanol technology to the local Tasnee Petrochemicalsfor a new plant at Jubail. The project is part of a larger scheme being developed by Tasnee and its joint venture partner Canada's Acetex- now part of the US' Celanese- to build an estimated $1,000 million Jubail-based petrochemical complex (MEED 23:4:04).

Lurgi will carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) services, on which work has already started, and supply proprietary equipment. The plant will have capacity to produce 1.8 million tonnes a year (t/y) of methanol and is due for completion by 2008. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender is due to be issued in the first quarter of 2005.

In addition to methanol, the new complex will produce 500,000 t/y of acetic acid and 275,000 t/y of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM). Under the original joint venture agreement, the acetic acid project will use Acetex proprietary technology. The unit's output will be used as feedstock for the VAM facility, with the surplus being exported. Paris-based Technip has been awarded the FEED contract for the acetic acid plant and is due to complete the package in July. A FEED contract has still to be awarded for the VAM unit. EPC contracts are expected to be tendered in the first half of 2005.

Celanese will enter a long-term methanol offtake agreement with the joint venture and also handle the marketing of the acetyl products, with offtake agreements still to be finalised.

The joint venture will set up two project companies: a 50:50 venture for the acetic acid and VAM units; and a methanol producer 75 per cent owned by Tasnee, with Celanese holding the remainder. The venture's equity will make up 30 per cent of the total project costs, with debt covering the remaining 70 per cent. A gas feedstock agreement has already been signed with Saudi Aramco. The full complex is due to come on stream in 2008.

Tasnee in partnership with the local Sahara Petrochemical Company and Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)is also in the process of setting up a major olefins complex in Jubail (see above; MEED 15:10:04).

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