Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Rayon Company (MRC) have confirmed plans to form a 50:50 joint venture that will see the companies build and operate two petrochemicals plants in Saudi Arabia.

The two plants will produce for methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and will be built at one of Sabic’s sites in Jubail in the Eastern Province.

The capacity for the MMA is 250,000 tonnes a year, which will make it the largest of its type in the world. MEED reported in May that the facility was currently at the front-end engineering and design phase and that four companies had been approached (MEED 20:5:11).

“I have heard that the potential site for the MMA plant is the Ibn Sina [National Methanol Company] in Jubail,” says a contracting source based in the Eastern Province.

A spokesman from Sabic refused to rule out the Ibn Sina site, but stressed that a number of different sites were being considered.

The PMMA plant is smaller in scale and will have a capacity of 40,000-t/y.

MMA and PMMA have a number of downstream uses including machinery, electrical components and gears and both plants fall in line with Sabic’s move to becoming the key player in the kingdom’s downstream industries.