New cracker options under examination

04 November 2005
Kuwait Finance House (KFH) - Bahrain has invited ABB Lummus Global and Kellogg Brown & Root,both US-based, Germany's Linde and Paris-based Technip to prepare preliminary price estimates for the construction of an ethane cracker planned as part of its integrated petrochemicals, power and water complex at Sitra. The decision toinvite bids from thefour companies follows the recent withdrawal from the project of Stone & Webster, part of the US' Shaw International, as the prospective technology provider and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, citing a high workload (MEED 21:10:05).

Ethylene produced by the comparatively small KFH cracker - its capacity is understood to be only about 100,000 tonnes a year (t/y) - is required for downstream production. It is not clear when price estimates are due to be submitted but the issue is pressing as the cracker represents the core element in the project's petrochemicals portion. However, it is understood that ethylene technology providers and EPC contractors that have been approached by KFH have reservations about bidding for the project due to its size.

A local private investor is also understood to have approached Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) about the possibility of securing naphtha feedstock for a greenfield liquids cracker, with capacity of at least 400,000-500,000 t/y. If the project goes ahead it could potentially provide the 100,000 t/y of ethylene feedstock to the KFH downstream units, with the remainder feeding several other downstream units at a separate complex to be built by the investor. Industry sources say that negotiations between the investor and Bapco currently revolve around whether naphtha will be made available and at what price (see Special Report, pages 44-46).

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