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Sabic and Mitsubishi to tender Jubail MMA – PMMA EPC contract

Sabic and MRC to build the world largest MMA plant

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_ToolThe Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) and the Mitsubishi Rayon Company (MRC) are preparing the call for tender for two chemical facilities to be added in Sabic al-Jubail existing chemical plant.

In August 2009, Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon had signed a letter of intend (LOI) to prepare ground for a joint venture around the development of a major project to produce methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer at large scale in Saudi Arabia.

Sabic_Mitsubishi_Rayon_Al-Jubail_MMA-PMMA_Project_MapIn May 2011, Sabic and MRC had formed a 50/50 joint venture to build at Al-Jubail, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia the world largest plant of methyl methacrylate (MMA).

Together with this MMA plant, Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon have also decided to add a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) production unit.

This MMA monomer can be manufactured out of many different petrochemical processes from common building blocks such as acetone, or isobutyl or propene.

The diversity of the processes to produce MMMA has generated over the years the multiplication of the licenses.

In signing this joint venture, Sabic selected the Alpha technology owned by Lucite International (Lucite) and acquired by Mitsubishi Rayon.

Tecnicas Reunidas to complete Jubail MMA FEED work

In January 2012, Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon awarded the front end engineering and design (FEED) of the al-Jubail MMA and PMMA project to Tecnicas Reunidas (TR) from Spain in expecting to start commercial operations in 2013.

Unfortunately, while Tecnicas Reunidas was working on this FEED, Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon had hard to finalize the conditions to adopt the Alpha technology license for this project.

Of course, the selection of one technology among the others for the production of MMA has an impact on the design of the plant, thus on the FEED work provided by Tecnicas Reunidas in causing some delays.

Despite these difficulties, Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon could find a deal on this Alpha technology license, leaving Tecnicas Reunidas to complete the FEED.

Sabic_Mitsubishi_Rayon_Al-Jubail_MMA-PMMA_Project_According to this FEED, the Al-Jubail project should include two facilities with the capacities of:

 – 250,000 t/y of MMA

 – 40,000 t/y of PMMA

With this scope of work, the al-Jubail MMA and PMMA project is estimated to require $500 million capital expenditure.

Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon are now issuing the call for tender of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to be awarded at the year end

With the addition of MMA and PMMA to the existing al-Jubail facility, Sabic extends its petrochemical portfolio in critical hydrocarbon products with higher added value.

The MMA is mostly used as polymer (PMMA) to produce acrylic plastics or to modify PVC such as used for domestic goods, car industry, housing materials, or even as cement for artificial hip or knee.

With the development of the manufacturing industries in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is targeting to become self sufficient in MMA and PMMA with this Sabic and Mitsubishi Rayon al-Jubail project. 

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