Ineos makes first investment in Saudi Arabia

Article by Adam Duckett

INEOS is making its first investment in Saudi Arabia, committing to build three new chemicals plants in the Jubail 2 complex.

The chemical firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco and Total to build the plants as part of the pair’s existing plans for a US$5bn petrochemical complex – called Project Amiral – that includes downstream derivatives and speciality chemicals units.

Ineos will build a 435,000 t/y acrylonitrile plant, a 400,000 t/y linear alpha olefin plant and an associated “world-scale” polyalphaolefin plant, all of which are set to begin production in 2025.

Paul Overment, CEO of Ineos Nitriles said global demand for acrylonitrile is outpacing GDP, with demand climbing for lighter, stronger, energy-efficient materials such as ABS, composites and carbon fibre. Linear alpha olefins are used as co-polymers in the manufacture of polyethylene, as well as in surfactants, lubricants and drilling fluids. Polyalphaolefins are used in the production of synthetic lubricants.

Ineos said that locating the plants in Saudi Arabia will give it access to competitive raw materials and energy, and closer access to customers in the region and across Asia.

Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of Ineos said: “The timing is right for us to enter this significant agreement in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Aramco and Total. We are bringing advanced downstream technology which will add value and create further jobs in The Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia has an economic policy to diversify away from its high reliance on oil, including adding value by building a downstream chemicals industry.

Ineos has not disclosed the value of the investments. It follows recent commitments to invest £1bn (US$1.26bn) into modernising the Forties pipeline and building a 300,000 t/y vinyl acetate monomer plant in Hull, UK; and €3bn (US$3.36bn) on a new cracker and propane dehydrogenation in Antwerp, Belgium.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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