Saudi's SABIC ventures into oleochems, taps Lurgi for technology

30 August 2010 05:27  [Source: ICIS news]

Oelochemicals are used in personal care products like these bars of soap.SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is diversifying into oleochemicals and has tapped German firm Lurgi to provide the technology for the planned production line that will use renewable feedstocks, the Middle Eastern producer said late on Sunday.

Its affiliate – Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co – would build the oleochemicals plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, and the company would use renewable feedstock technology to produce 83,000 tonnes/year of distilled natural alcohols, SABIC said in a statement.

The plant was slated for start-up in end 2013, it added.

The cost of the project and the value of the licensing agreement were not provided.

"SABIC's diversification into oleochemical products is in line with the company's strategy and drive to increase its performance-chemicals portfolio," said SABIC executive vice president for research & technology Abdulrahman Al-Ubaid.

Distilled natural alcohols are used in household and laundry products, plasticisers, lube additives, plastic industries, cosmetics and personal care products.

The plant would be the first of its kind in the Middle East and would include an upstream natural acid unit, a wax-ester unit, a hydrogeneration unit, a downstream natural alcohol fractionation and distillation line and a complete glycerine line, SABIC said.

Al-Ubaid said the process would be based on natural raw materials from renewable oils such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil.

"SABIC’s expansion of the ethylene oxide derivatives business, with particular emphasis on ethoxylate surfactants, will further be strengthened through backward integration into natural fatty alcohols," said the company’s general manager for functional chemicals Rusmir Niksic.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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