SAMAPCO starts commercial ops at S Arabia chlor-alkali plant

01 July 2014 04:27 Source:ICIS News

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Caustic soda is used in the manufacture of pulp and paper, alumina, soap and detergents.SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Sahara & Ma’aden Petrochemicals Co (SAMAPCO) started commercial operations at its chlor-alkali facility in Jubail on 1 July as scheduled, its part-owner Sahara Petrochemicals Co said late on Monday.

The plant is designed to produce 250,000 tonnes/year of concentrated caustic soda and 300,000 tonnes/year of ethylene dichloride (EDC), Sahara said in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange or Tadawul.

Trial production at the Jubail facility started sometime in August last year.

SAMAPCO, a limited liability company, is a 50:50 joint venture between Sahara and Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma’aden).

The Jubail chlor-alkali plant, including associated utilities and support facilities, was estimated to have cost $750m to build, according to Sahara’s website.

The facility utilizes the process technology of German engineering firm Uhde.

In May 2011, the joint venture partners signed agreements to supply the plant’s entire concentrated caustic soda output to the alumina refinery of Ma’aden in Ras Alkair, while the EDC production will be for Saudi Arabia’s domestic consumption, as well as for exports, based on information available in Sahara’s website.

Caustic soda is a strong chemical base in the manufacture of pulp, paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents and as a drain cleaner.

EDC, on the other hand, is used for the production of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) – a key raw material in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which goes into construction materials.

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By Pearl Bantillo