Ineos will build three large-scale chemical intermediate plants within Project Amiral, an ethylene cracker complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, being developed by Saudi Aramco and Total.
Costing $2 billion and set to start up in 2025, the facilities that Ineos will build are a 425,000-metric-ton-per-year acrylonitrile plant, a 400,000-metric-ton-per-year linear-α-olefin plant, and what the firm says will be a “world-scale” poly-α-olefin plant.
The three plants will be Ineos’s first in Saudi Arabia. Output from the α-olefin plants will be used to make synthetic lubricants. Acrylonitrile is a key building block chemical for making carbon fiber and engineering polymers. “This first investment in the Middle East consolidates our position as the market leader,” says Paul Overment, CEO of Ineos Nitriles.
Ineos’s Saudi move follows recent announcements by the privately owned firm that it will invest $3.4 billion in a new ethylene cracker and propane dehydrogenation complex in Antwerp, Belgium, and $1.3 billion in various projects in the UK. It is also building a US ethylene oxide plant.
“Ineos’s business is primarily centered in Europe and the US, so this represents a geographical diversification for the company,” says Patrick Kirby, chemicals principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie. He also notes that the Ineos investments “allow for a much wider portfolio of derivatives than previous ethane cracker investments in Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Aramco and Total are hoping to attract a total of $4 billion in petrochemical and specialty chemical investments in the Project Amiral complex from third parties.