Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and UK/Dutch Shell Group are progressing with plans for the expansion of the recently completed Saudi Petrochemical Company (Sadaf) complex in Jubail, on the kingdom’s eastern coast.

The partners plan to conduct joint studies for the production of a range of polyurethane building blocks (polyols) and styrene monomer propylene oxide (SMPO) at the Sadaf complex, according to an announcement by Shell at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (Adipec) on 12 November.

The proposed full range of polyols and SMPO plants would be the first of their kind in the Middle East and will use Shell technology for production.

Shell and Sabic did not comment on the scale of the new Sadaf plants or their estimated value. MEED reported in May that the polyols project was still in its early stages of development and international engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors said they expected to see some movement on prequalification by the end of the year.

Polyurethane is used in high performance adhesives, synthetic fibres, insulation panels, seals and gaskets, as well as in a number of applications in the automotive industry.