Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company's (KPPC) Aromatics Complex, Kuwait

In December 2009, Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company (KPPC) announced the opening of its aromatics complex in Kuwait. KPPC is a joint venture between Petrochemical Industries (PIC), Kuwait National Petroleum (KNPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries (QPIC). The new plant is located in the Shuaiba industrial area, 40km south of Kuwait, and was constructed at a total cost of $2bn.

The new aromatics complex will produce 829,000mt of paraxylene and 393,000mt of benzene annually. PIC managed the construction activities of the new complex, and Equate Petrochemical, which is a part of PIC, is responsible for the commercial operations of the plant. The new plant is integrated into the existing Equate Olefins facility in the Shuaiba industrial area.

The paraxylene produced at the complex will be exported by PIC to selected markets. The benzene generated will be used by the ethyl benzene and styrene monomer (EBSM) plant in the adjacent olefins II complex of Equate. The benzene will be used for the manufacture of styrene monomer by The Kuwait Styrene Company (TKSC).

By-products such as light naphtha, produced at the complex, will be used by the Mina Abdullah Refinery. Light naphtha will be converted and exported as premium petrochemical naphtha by KNPC and Kuwait Petroleum (KPC).

The butane manufactured at the plant will be exported from Mina Ahmadi and the hydrogen will be used for purposes within the refinery. The ethane and propane produced will be sent to the Olefins II complex to produce extra ethylene of 100,000mt per annum.

Kuwait aromatics plant technology

In March 2007, Honeywell was awarded a $7m contract to implement its Experion process knowledge system (PKS) and Foundation fieldbus system at the plant.

"The new plant, located 40km south of Kuwait, was constructed at a total cost of $2bn."

Honeywell's technology is expected to help decrease installation and maintenance costs while boosting the plant's performance.

It integrates all information and diagnostics pertaining to the plant sensors and actuators in a single location, which decreases the quantity of wiring and hardware needed for installation. This results in a long-term reduction in installation costs, commissioning time and maintenance expenses.

The Experion automation and control platform, part of the Experion system, will help supervisors at KPPC to control hardware devices, which will increase system and process availability. Such control not only boosts plant performance but also reduces downtime.

In April 2008, UOP was awarded the contract to create, assemble and install its UniSim operations suite at the new aromatics plant. UOP, a Honeywell company, provides process technology, adsorbents and consulting services to petrochemical and gas processing industries. The UniSim operations suite is an advanced simulation engine created to provide training to supervisors and maintenance staff in process industries.

The contract awarded to UOP also includes embedded UOP reactor models. These technologies will ensure safer and reliable plant operations at the new complex, and will also enhance productivity and improve business performance. The UniSim suite will be integrated into the Experion platform.

The UniSim suite helps plant operators understand and familiarise themselves with a new system before commissioning it. It also helps in providing quick training to new employees.

KPPC aromatics plant financing

In July 2007, Norton Rose, a leading legal practice, appointed 18 commercial mandated lead arrangers for $1.4bn's worth of financing arrangements for the project.

The arrangers included Arab Banking Corporation, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Madrid, Citibank, Fortis Bank, Gulf International Bank, ING Bank, KfW, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Natixis, National Bank of Kuwait, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and WestLB AG.

Aromatics plant contractors

In 2006, the front-end engineering, design and project management consultancy contracts for the aromatics project were awarded to Bechtel.

"The complex will produce 829,000mt of paraxylene and 393,000mt of benzene annually."

A joint venture between SK Engineering & Construction (SKEC) of South Korea and Tecnimont of Italy was awarded a $1.2bn engineering, procurement and construction contract for the new plant.

Naser M. Al Baddah & Partner General Trading & Contracting (NBTC) was contracted by SKEC for EPC work on the complex.

The scope of work for NBTC included foundations, construction of substation building, civil works for underground piping, and cable trenches and civil works for shelter works.


KPPC's local refining plant will supply the new facility with 2.5mt of naphtha feedstock per year. The ethylene required for the new plant will be sourced from the adjacent Olefins facility.