• BP signed memorandum of understanding on project at end of 2013
  • Oman expected to shortlist bidders in third quarter
  • Acetic acid used as base ingredient in chemicals industries

Oman has asked companies to express interest in bidding to construct an acetic acid plant in Duqm on the country’s central coast, according to sources familiar with the project.

The estimated $1bn project was announced in December 2013, when the government of Oman signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UK oil major BP to build the facility. However, BP has yet to announce a final investment decision.

The plant is expected to be the world’s first acetic acid plant utilising BP’s new Saabre process, which was first announced in November 2013.

Oman is expected to shortlist companies to bid on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract during the third quarter of 2015.

The front-end engineering and design (feed) study is reportedly being carried out by Australia’s WorleyParsons.

Acetic acid is used primarily as a base ingredient for several products including paints, adhesives and solvents, as well as being used in the manufacture of polyester.

The project, which is proposed to be built in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm, will eventually feed several downstream converters at the emerging port and oil sector hub.

In its announcement of the MoU in December 2013, BP said it expected the plant to start up in 2019, subject to negotiating definitive agreements.

BP is already working with Muscat on Oman’s largest upstream development at the Khazzan tight gas field. The development is expected to require an investment of $16bn over the course of 15 years, and several major contracts have already been awarded.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices