Ineos announced today that it will invest $2 billion in its first manufacturing plants in Saudi Arabia, in what it says will be one of the largest UK investments ever in the kingdom. Ineos has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco and Total to build three world-scale plants to produce key building blocks for carbon fiber, engineering polymers, and synthetic lubricants.
Ineos will build a 425,000-metric tons/year acrylonitrile plant, based on proprietary technology and catalyst. It will be the first plant of its kind in the Middle East when it starts up in 2025. Ineos will also build a 400,000-metric tons/year linear alpha-olefins (LAO) plant and associated world-scale polyalphaolefins (PAO) facility, also by 2025.
Aramco and Total plan to invest $5 billion in a petrochemical complex, dubbed project Amiral, at Jubail, which will support an additional $4 billion investment in downstream derivatives and specialty chemicals units. The three Ineos plants will be part of the downstream plan.
“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,” said Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos. It marks Ineos’s first investment in the Middle East, he says. The location in Saudi Arabia will give Ineos access to competitive raw materials and energy, with well invested infrastructure, to serve customers in the Middle East and across Asia, the company says.
The project represents a continuation of Ineos’s growth strategy following the announcement of a €3-billion ($3.35 billion) investment into a new complex at Antwerp; £1-billion ($1.27 billion) investment across the UK; acquisitions in China; and capacity increases in the US Gulf Coast, Alabama, and at the Chocolate Bayou facilities.
Paul Overment, CEO of Ineos Nitriles, says, “Global demand for acrylonitrile continues to grow ahead of GDP, to meet the demand for lighter, stronger, energy-efficient materials such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, composites, and carbon fiber.” Joe Walton, CEO INEOS Oligomers, says, “Ineos Oligomers is one of the world’s leading merchant suppliers of LAO and PAO. The size and location of these new plants reinforces our commitment to keep pace with our LAO and PAO customers’ expanding requirements globally.”
Ineos Nitriles is currently the world’s largest producer of acrylonitrile and acetonitrile, with more than 90% of the world’s acrylonitrile using Ineos technology. It currently has four manufacturing plants, two in North America and two in Europe. The company’s plant at Green Lake, Texas, is the largest facility in the world.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
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