Al-Zamil has granted companies extra time to prepare their EPC proposals for the 20,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) carbon black plant, with bids now due to be submitted in early May. The estimated $50 million-60 million project is scheduled to come on stream in late 2005.

The US’ Jacobs Engineeringcarried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the plant, whose output is an additive used to manufacture black rubber products.

Three international companies are negotiating to become a partner in Al-Zamil’s PP plant, which will have capacity of 450,000 t/y. Industry sources say a deal with one of the consortia is expected to be concluded by mid-2003. It is understood that the successful consortium will comprise a technology supplier and a product offtaker, with an EPC contractor to be appointed through a separate tender later this year.

Al-Zamil is also studying the feasibility of setting up an ammonia plant in Jubail. In addition, the group is a leading investor in several other petrochemical projects, including a world-scale petrochemical complex in Jubail being developed by Saudi International Petrochemical Company. It is also involved in Saudi Indo Petrochemical Company, which is developing a linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant in Yanbu.

Al-Zamil has two smaller petrochemical interests in Jubail – Arabian Alkali Company (Soda)and Gulf Stabilisers Company.