SIPC has altered the original specifications of the estimated $220 million plant, with BDO capacity reduced to 43,000 tonnes a year (t/y) from 50,000 t/y. In addition, the plant will now produce some 5,000 t/y each of two BDO derivatives, tetrahydrofuran (TPA) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL). The plant will also produce an unspecified amount of maleic anydride (MAN). A bid deadline of 10 May was set for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package for the plant, and a contract award is expected in June. The plant is scheduled to come on stream in 2004.

SIPC owns 60 per cent of GACIC, with the remaining 40 per cent stake distributed between the local Abdullatif Saud al-Babtain & Brothers, Netherlands-based Huntsman Investmentsand London-based Davy Process Technology.

In late March SIPC announced the establishment of a joint venture with a Japanese consortium to develop a methanol plant at the Jubail complex. Two other plants, to produce acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), are also planned for the complex (MEED 29:3:02).