25 July 2007 09:04 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--South Korea's Hanwha Chemical is in talks with Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) to take an equity stake in its 1.3m tonne/year cracker project in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, a source close to the project said on Wednesday.?xml:namespace>
"It is hard to say when the negotiations will end," the source said. He would also not divulge any details of the share-holding structure being discussed by the two potential partners.
A Hanwha group spokesman had, however, told ICIS news in June that the potential Saudi partner (whose identity he would not disclose) would hold the majority stake in a $6.5bn-7.6bn cracker complex in ?xml:namespace>
The companies were to sign an agreement by the end of June or in early July but this has been delayed indefinitely as the group chairman Kim Seung-yun (since jailed) was on trial on charges of assault, the spokesman had added.
The $7bn Sipchem cracker complex, which would include high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density (LDPE), polypropylene (PP) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plants, is expected to start up in 2011.
About 3m tonnes/year of 18 different products would be produced by the complex, the company said last year.
Construction of the company's acetyls project at the same site, consisting of a 460,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant, a 330,000 tonne/year vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) unit and a 345,000 tonne/year carbon monoxide facility was progressing well, a second source close to the project said.
These plants were expected to go on stream in late 2008, he added. According to the source, the company was planning to export significant volumes of these products to Asia and
Sipchem affiliates signed a $560m project finance loan with nine regional banks for the acetyls complex last December.
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