Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) has released solicitation of interest (SOI) documents for the engineering, procurement and construction packages of itselastomer joint venture project in Saudi Arabia.

The project, a 50:50 joint venture with the US’ ExxonMobil Chemical, is now moving after a lengthy front-end engineering and design (feed) phase that was carried out by the US’ Fluor.

In November, MEED reported that the whole complex would be based at the Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya) in Jubail in the Eastern Province. The other site that the partners were planning to use was in Yanbu on the west coast (MEED 19:11:10).

“A lot of in-kingdom contractors have been waiting for the Kemya project to make progress for well over a year now,” says a source familiar with the project . “The latest developments are encouraging and we are now hoping for tenders to be released by the third quarter.”

When completed the elastomer project will produce around 400,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of carbon black, rubber and thermoplastic speciality polymers. The plant will use ExxonMobil technology and the products will be sold on local and international markets. 

Carbon black is derived from heavy petroleum products and is mostly used by the automotive industry to add strength to plastic and rubber products used in car production.

“[The project] fits in nicely with the kingdom’s plans for diversification and job creation in downstream industries,” the source says. “It has taken a while to get all of the right factors into place, but it seems that they are all there now.”

ExxonMobil Chemical will be providing the technology for the complex and the two main packages will be the methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) plant and a halobutyl rubber plant.

The companies looking to prequalify for the EPC contract for both of these packages include:

  • CTCI Corporation (Taiwan)
  • Daelim Industrial Company (South Korea)
  • GS Engineering & Construction Corporation (South Korea)
  • Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
  • Samsung Engineering (South Korea)
  • Technip (France)

The project also has a major tank farm and spheres package that will be tendered and the companies looking to bid on that include:

  • Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (US)
  • Petrol Steel (local/Singapore)
  • Yanbu Steel Company (local)