The new complex will centre on an 800,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) mixed-feedstock cracker and comprise several downstream units, including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene, methyl methacrylates and acrylonitrile.

Sipchem has begun approaching a number of international contractors for the project’s front-end engineering and design (FEED), with invitation to bid (ITB) documents for the contract due to be issued by the end of May.

Tenders for the cracker and downstream unit construction contracts are not likely to be issued at the end of the year.

In mid-April, Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi announced the establishment of a major petrochemicals complex in Jubail, although without specifying the identities of the parties involved.

He said a number ofinternational companies werelikely to take a stake in the scheme,and that a large portion of thecapital in the project company would be floated for publicsubscription.

Sipchem is presently developing two other projects in the kingdom. Construction work is soon set to start on its $500 million Jubail acetyls complex, which will cover vinyl acetic monomer (VAM) and acetic units.

Bidding is under way for its planned 1,500-tonne-a-day ammonia plant (MEED 7:4:06).