Sipchem affiliates get funding for Al Jubail acetyls complex

16 February 2009 10:56  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Affiliate companies of Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) have obtained Saudi riyal (SR) 1.35bn ($360m) in funding to construct an acetyls complex at Al Jubail, according to a statement Sipchem released on 15 February.

“Construction of the complex is ongoing and it is 94% mechanically complete,” a company official said on Monday.

“We expect to have the acetic acid plant on stream at the end of the second quarter, with commercial production available in the third quarter.”

The funding, from a public investment fund, followed SR1.12bn for the Sipchem affiliates from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund and SR1.43bn from an unnamed corporate fund.

The fully integrated acetyls complex includes a 420,000 tonne/year acetic acid plant, a 330,000 tonne/year vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) plant and a 250,000 tonne/year ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/low density polyethylene (LDPE) swing line.

The utilities unit at the complex has been operational since end of last year, the official said.

The official denied earlier reports of a delay in the start-up due to a labour shortage.

The feedstocks – mainly methanol, carbon monoxide and hydrogen – will be provided internally by Sipchem affiliates International Methanol Co (IMC) and United Industrial Gases Co (UIGC), ensuring an uninterrupted supply of raw materials.

The bulk of acetic acid output from the plant will be targeted for the export market, the official said.

“We do not have the exact breakdown but approximately 220,000 tonnes/year of acetic acid will be exported globally, whereas 200,000 tonnes/year will be consumed by our VAM plant,” he said, adding that part of its VAM output would also be exported.

The EVA/LDPE plant is targeted to come on stream in 2012.

Major acetic acid producers in Asia include Celanese, BP, Daicel Chemical Industries, Showa Denko, Jiangsu Sopo, Shanghai Wujing, GNFC and Fanavaran Petrochemical Co.

($1 = SR 3.75)

For more on acetic acid visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Helen Lee
+65 6780 4359

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