The $50 million plant uses technology licensed by UOPof the US and will import feedstock from Italy and Spain. The facility has been under construction for two years and first production is expected by the end of 2002. Some 20,000 t/y of LAB will be used as the raw material for detergents marketed locally by Daaboul, while the remaining volume will be exported to the neighbouring markets of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

The LAB plant is one of several under development in the Middle East using Saudi financing. Al-Rajhi International Contracting is moving ahead with its petrochemical complex in Jubail, which will include a 120,000-t/y LAB plant with an associated facility to produce normal paraffin (n-paraffin) feedstock (MEED 1:3:02). Saudi investors are also understood to be looking at a similar olefins complex in Egypt.