Tasnee / Lyondell Basell JV Integrated Polyethylene Complex, Saudi Arabia

During the first quarter of 2005 National Petrochemical Industrialisation Company (Tasnee Petrochemical) and Lyondell Basell announced that they had signed an agreement to build an integrated polyethylene (PE) complex in Al-Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia.

The petrochemical complex consists of two integrated projects – Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC) and Saudi Ethylene and Polyethylene Company (SEPC). The SPC began its operations in early 2004. It produces propylene and polypropylene (PP) and has a production capacity of 455,000tpa each.

The Tasnee / Lyondell Basell JV integrated polyethylene complex includes a gas cracker and two 400,000tpa PE plants. One PE plant produces high density polyethylene (hdPE) and the other produces low density polyethylene (ldPE). The ethylene cracker of the complex became operational in August 2008. The hdPE started operations in November 2008, while the ldPE became operational in March 2009.

Lyondell Basell holds a 25% stake in the project with Tasnee Petrochemicals, and other Saudi investors including Sahara Petrochemical Company holding the remaining equity. The complex required an investment of some $2.5bn.

Ethylene cracker and utilities contract

In July 2005 Tasnee Petrochemical, along with Lyondell Basell and its partners, announced that the contract for the ethylene cracker and utilities had been awarded to Germany's Linde and South Korea's Samsung Engineering Company. In January 2006 contract for the PE projects was awarded to Tecnimont.

"The complex required an investment of some $2.5bn."

The SEPC facility produces 1mtpa of ethylene, and 285,000tpa of propylene. It also produces 400,000tpa of hdPE and 400,000tpa of ldPE. Construction work on the cracker began during the first quarter of 2006 and was completed in less than 36 months. In 2004, Fluor in partnership with Tasnee, took up project management services for the ethylene cracker and the entire PE complex.

Linde provided technology for the cracker as well as basic engineering and procurement of key equipment, including the furnace section. Samsung Engineering was responsible for providing detailed engineering and construction services. The contract's value was $1.28bn.

Feedstock for the gas cracker was supplied by Saudi Aramco.

Ethylene process control contract

During September 2006, Honeywell announced that it had been awarded a contract to supply the process and safety controls for Tasnee Petrochemicals 1mtpa ethylene unit. The contract was valued at $7m. Honeywell's Experion Process Knowledge System is used to manage the production of ethylene. Honeywell completed its project by December 2007 as per the schedule.

Cracker process technology

Linde's ethylene process technologies are based on its Pyrocrack furnaces and subsequent Ultrarec olefins recovery process. The Pyrocrack furnaces are based on a technology which allows for the cracking of all feedstocks, including ethane, propane, butane, LPG and naphtha, through to hydrocracker residues.

Linde states that Pyrocrack furnaces guarantee 'excellent productivity' due to their longevity and high yields. The Ultrarec-recovery unit consists of three parts which Linde says work together to provide the lowest energy and feedstock consumption figures for all feedstocks in single train ethylene plant.

"The facility produces 1mtpa of ethylene, and 285,000tpa of propylene."

Polyethylene technology

The hdPE plant will be based on Lyondell Basell's Hostalen process, while the ldPE unit will be based on Lyondell Basell's Lupotech T technology.

Lyondell Basell claims that the units are the largest Hostalen and Lupotech T plants in existence.


The Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (Sagia) said that the project was inline with its vision to 'promote investments in the strategic petrochemical sector'. In addition, development of the petrochemical complex led to the creation of 700 jobs for the Saudi workforce.

About 30% of the products from the complex are marketed to the local and GCC countries, while the remaining 70% are supplied across the world.