SME will take a 35 per cent stake in project promoter, the local Safewater Chemicals, which is majority owned by the Al-Jaber Group, also local. Safewater awarded in early October a contract to the local/South African Al-Jaber LTA Engineering & Contracting (ALEC) for building the first-phase facilities of a chlor-alkali plant.

The project calls for the construction of two production units with total capacity of 62,000 tonnes a year of sodium hypochlorite and related products, which will be manufactured through an electrolytic process using salt, water and electricity as primary feedstock.

The US’ Ionics International has been awarded a AED 30.2 million ($8 million) contract for the supply of membrane cell electrolyser units. The US firm will outsource the supply of hydrochloric acid absorbers to SGL Acotec of Germany. France’s GEA Kestner will design, supply and install the caustic soda evaporator.

The plant, estimated to cost AED 60 million ($16 million), is scheduled to start commercial production by October 2003. The UK’s WS AtkinsInternational has carried out the process and detailed engineering works.