Egypt’s privately-owned Carbon Holdings has awarded a contract to a consortium of Italy’s Maire Tecnimont Group and Netherlands-based Archirodon Group for work on its $5bn-plus Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex.

The deal covers engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) activities for the project’s utilities and offsite facilities.

The contract is expected to be worth between $1.7bn and $1.95bn with 50 per cent of the value awarded to each consortium partner.

Carbon Holdings is aiming to complete the financing for the complex by the end of the year before starting construction in 2015. Italian export credit company SACE is currently assessing its support to help finance the project, Tecnimont said.

The megaproject – which includes Egypt’s first naphtha cracker – will create 50,000 jobs during the construction phase, according to Carbon Holdings. It will be located at Ain Sokhna at the entrance to the Suez Channel in eastern Egypt.

Once complete, the project will comprise a 4 million tonne-a-year (t/y) naphtha cracker and downstream plants with the capacity to produce 1.4 million t/y polyethylene, 900,000 t/y propylene, 250,000 t/y butadiene and 350,000 t/y benzene.

The complex is expected to increase Egypt’s annual exports by more than 25 per cent and provide a significant boost to the domestic manufacturing sector.

Carbon Holdings has selected Germany’s Linde Group to provide the front-end engineering & design (feed), cracker technology and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) supported by South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction, according to reports. Foster Wheeler was selected as the scheme’s project management consulting (PMC) contractor.