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Business

SABIC, Sinopec Eye Big Plant In Trinidad

by Alexander H. Tullo
February 20, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 8

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and China’s Sinopec have entered negotiations with the government of Trinidad & Tobago to build a $5.3 billion methanol-to-olefins complex in the island nation. Although Trinidad is host to methanol and nitrogen fertilizer firms such as Methanex and Koch Industries, the country’s goal of establishing a more diverse petrochemical industry has proved elusive so far. In 2006, Westlake Chemical unveiled plans to build a $1.5 billion complex that would convert ethane into ethylene and polyethylene. But the company shelved its project in 2009. Rather than ethane, SABIC and Sinopec would tap into Trinidad’s vast methane reserves to make olefins and downstream derivatives. Air Liquide’s Lurgi engineering unit and Honeywell’s UOP licensing business both offer methanol-to-olefin technologies, which to date have been largely licensed in China. SABIC and Sinopec are already partners in an ethylene and derivatives complex in Tianjin, China.

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