Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.) said 29 August that it had signed a technology licensing and engineering agreement with German firm Lurgi GmbH that will allow SABIC to produce oleochemicals at its affiliate, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company (Saudi Kayan).
The chemicals will be made following the completion of new facilities to be built in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.
Start up is planned for the end of 2013 and the project will use renewable raw materials. "The feedstock used for this process is based on natural raw materials from renewable oils such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil," as part of the group's sustainability commitment, said SABIC executive vice president, Technology & Innovation, Dr Abdulrahman Al-Ubaid, in a company statement.
SABIC's diversification into oleochemicals is in line with the company's strategy to increase its performance chemicals portfolio, said SABIC's general managerof Functional Chemicals, Rusmir Niksic, noting that "SABIC's expansion of the ethylene oxide derivatives business, with particular emphasis on ethoxylate surfactants, will further be strengthened through backward integration into natural fatty alcohols."
SABIC's global business manager for Ethoxylates and Amines, Turki Al-Hamdan, commented that the natural alcohol plant allows for "new investments in downstream industries in the region."
The oleochemical plant will be the first of its type in the Middle East and includes an upstream natural acid unit, a wax-ester unit, a hydrogenation unit, a downstream natural alcohol fractionation and distillation line, as well as a complete glycerine line.
The complex will be designed for the production of 83 000 tonnes per year of distilled natural alcohols of various compositions that are commonly used in household and laundry products, plasticisers, lube additives, plastic industries, cosmetics and personal care. Glycerine is used in food and beverage processing, personal care, pharmaceuticals and other applications.