A new tender has been issued for the olefins 12 project at Assaluyeh. However, contractors say the mid-February deadline is unrealistic, given the complex nature of the new plant, its size and unusual feedstock requirements (MEED 13:5:05).

Olefins 12 will have capacity of 1.9 million tonnes a year (t/y), the largest standalone cracker in the world. It will take feedstock from a variety of sources, including heavy ends from other petrochemical complexes. Given the size and complexity of the project, it is likely to cost in the range of $1,000 million. ‘For a project like this, we really need a mid-2006 deadline to prepare a bid,’ says one prospective bidder. The contract is being tendered on a technology-cum-engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

It is not clear from the tender whether the client, National Petrochemical Company (NPC), will pursue the project alone or continue to seek a foreign partner. It had earlier been in negotiations with Indian Oil Corporation to take a stake in the project.

NPC has this year awarded major cracker contracts for the Ilam olefins plant and the olefins 8 and 11 projects. None of these projects can come into effect until financing is completed. Because of US sanctions, the field of international companies pursuing Iranian cracker work is limited. Companies to have recently bid, either on a joint and several liability basis or as subcontractors, include Paris-based Technipand Germany’s Linde.