RUFAYAH CHEMICALS COMPANY (RCC) has agreed to build a new US$500m downstream chemicals complex at the PlasChem Park at Jubail Industrial City II, Saudi Arabia.
RCC will convert aromatics concentrate and pyoil generated from naphtha produced at Saudi Arabia’s massive Sadara complex into a range of downstream products including hydrocarbon resin, isoprene, solvents and wash oils. Once completed, the complex will manufacture 12 downstream products with a total annual production capacity of more than 350,000 t. It is scheduled to come onstream in December 2020.
The Sadara complex, built in a partnership between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, is the world’s largest built in a single phase, and the first in the Middle East to use refinery liquids such as naphtha as a feedstock. The neighbouring PlasChem Park is a 12 km2 industrial park dedicated to downstream chemical production.
Sadara director Mohammad Alazzaz said: “We are delighted that RCC has selected PlasChem Park as the site for one of the largest hydrocarbon resin plants in the world, and certainly the biggest undertaking in PlasChem Park thus far. The new RCC plant will produce unique specialty chemicals that will serve the growing specialty chemicals industry in the Kingdom and the wider MENA region, filling a gap in local manufacture and supply.”
The move downstream is part of a wider strategy announced earlier this year by Saudi Arabia, which is seeking to diversify its economy in a bid to end its over-reliance on oil. In an interview with state channel al-Arabiya in April, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salma declared the country’s addiction to oil is dangerous and said it could end its reliance within four years.
“In 2020, I think we will be able to live without oil,” he explained. “We will need it but we can live without it.”
Commenting on RCC’s new commitment to downstream production, Prince Nayef Bin Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Kabeer, GDI chairman, said: “The Rufayah complex aligns perfectly with the overall strategies of the Kingdom, diversifying the Kingdom’s production portfolio, and promoting further downstream opportunities.
“Hydrocarbon resins alone are a key component in the adhesives industry, paints and coatings sector, inks manufacturing, and rubber compounded products. Other products such as premium wash oils, aromatic solvents, and naphthalene will substitute local imports by providing them on a next-door basis, with quality and services exceeding the current imported products.”
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