Saudi Acrylic Monomer Company (Samco) plans to award the construction contract for the first phase of its new $1.5bn acrylics complex at Jubail by September at the latest, sources close to the project tell MEED.

The company tendered an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract covering a new 160,000 tonne a year (t/y) acrylic acid production unit and a 160,000 t/y butyl acrylate plant in early 2010 and received priced bids for the contract in May.

Samco is now reviewing the bids and hopes to award the deal “as soon as possible”, the source says. Project sources say that the bidder with the best chance of winning the contract is a consortium of South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Germany’s Linde.

The acrylic acid unit is scheduled for completion by the second half of 2012 while the company wants to complete the butyl acetate plant by the fourth quarter of the same year, Ahmed al-Bassam, vice president for business development at Saudi National Industrialisation Company (Tasnee) said at MEED’s Middle East Petrochemicals 2010 conference in Abu Dhabi on 8 June.

Tasnee holds a 75 per cent stake in Samco, while the US’ Dow Chemical inherited the remaining 25 per cent share when it bought US speciality chemicals maker Rohm & Haas in 2009.

A new butanol plant is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013 and super absorbant polymer plant is also planned for the site.

The acrylic acid plant will be fed by 110,000 tonnes a year of propylene from Tasnee’s existing petrochemicals cracker at Jubail. It will in turn provide feedstock for the butyl acetate plant and a planned glacial acrylic acid plant.