Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem)has announced the signing of a definitive agreement with the US’ DuPont Company to licence vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) technology for the phase 2 development of its Jubail petrochemicals complex.

The VAM unit is part of the acetyl complex expected to come on stream in 2008. In addition to the 300,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) VAM unit, the complex will include acetic acid and acetic anhydride facilities with combined capacity of 417,000 t/y. Sipchem signed in early August an interim agreement with Eastman Chemical Company of the US for the licensing of acetyl co-production technology (MEED 6:8:04).

Other elements of the phase 2 programme include a second methanol unit with capacity of 1 million t/y, for which methane feedstock is to be provided by Saudi Aramco.

A feasibility study on the third phase of development, comprising an olefins complex and ethane cracker with capacity of at least 1 million t/y, is due for completion in the third quarter.

Construction is well under way on phase 1 of the Jubail development, covering a 1 million-t/y methanol plant and a 75,000-t/y maleic anhydride (MAN)/butanediol (BDO) unit.