Eastman’s co-production technology will enable production of acetic acid and acetic anhydride with combined capacity of 417,000 tonnes a year (t/y). The majority of the acetic acid produced will be used by Sipchem to feed a planned 300,000-t/y VAM plant.

Eastman will provide technical support to Sipchem and will market all the acetic anhydride produced from the facility.

Construction is well under way on phase 1 of the Jubail development, which covers a 1 million-t/y methanol plant, due for start-up in January 2005, and a 75,000-t/y maleic anhydride (MAN)/butanediol (BDO) unit, scheduled to come on stream in December 2005.

The phase 2 development will also include a second methanol unit with capacity of 1 million t/y. Methane feedstock has been secured from Saudi Aramco. Bids are under evaluation for the phase 2 project management consultancy (PMC) contract, due to be awarded in the third quarter, and Sipchem is close to selecting a group of local and regional banks for the mandate to arrange the financing (MEED 11:6:04).