PMD Ethylene and Derivatives Complex, Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia


In January 2003 the private Saudi Arabian company Project Management & Development (PMD) announced that it was planning to build an ethylene and derivatives complex in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The complex will be centred around a 1.3 million t/yr cracker. PMD has confirmed that it has received approval from Saudi Arabia's government to develop the cracker project.

PMD also said that it was considering building 1.65 million t/yr methanol plant, but problems with methane feedstock mean that the project's progress is likely to be slow.

ETHYLENE COMPLEX

PMD's production complex will be centred around a cracker producing 1.3 million t/yr of ethylene. The total cost of the complex is put at $3.5 billion. The cracker is scheduled to start up in 2008.

Downstream production will include 270,000t/yr of low density polyethylene (ldPE), two plants producing a total of 640,000t/yr of polypropylene (PP) and 530,000t/yr of ethylene oxide (EO). The EO will be used in the production of ethylene glycol, ethanolamine and methylamine. PMD is also planning to build 300,000t/yr of bisphenol-A capacity. Bisphenol-A is used primarily for the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins.

PROJECT ADVISORS

In June 2003 PMD appointed Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) of Bahrain as advisor for the ethylene and derivatives production plants. Earlier in 2003 Linde, a Germany-based engineering, industrial gases and material handling company, was appointed as technical advisor to the project. Linde had responsibility for defining the final outlook for the project, producing bankable feasibility studies and coordinating technical providers and product marketers.

TECHNICAL CONSULTANT

During the final quarter of 2003 PMD appointed Foster Wheeler as technical consultant for the planned ethylene and derivatives complex. Foster Wheeler was responsible for conducting an intensive and comprehensive study to provide PMD with capital and operating cost estimates for the complex. PMD said that the fact that Foster Wheeler was not a provider of steam cracker technology meant that it was able to offer impartial advice and this was a factor in selecting the company.

FEEDSTOCK

In October 2003 PMD announced that it had received a notice of allocation of feedstock from Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). The ethane and mixed butanes will be cracked to produce 1.3 million t/yr of ethylene.

FRONT END ENGINEERING AND DESIGN (FEED) PROJECT MANAGEMENT

During the first half of 2005 US-based engineering company Fluor Corporation announced that it had been awarded a contract by PMD to provide FEED and project management consultancy services on the $3.5 billion ethylene and derivative complex. Work is ongoing at Fluor's UK office. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

PROPYLENE AND POLYETHYLENE TECHNOLOGY

PMD announced in June 2005 that it had selected technology from Basell for its polypropylene (PP) and low density polyethylene (ldPE) plants. The two PP plants will use Basell's Spheripol process technology, while the ldPE plant will use Lupotech T technology.

BACKGROUND

PMD is located in Al-Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. PMD, which is wholly owned by local businessmen, says that its aims are to participate in expanding the industrial base, diversifying sources of national income, creating jobs for Saudi nationals and transferring advanced technologies. The project is expected to create some 1,500 jobs.