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Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and affiliates of ExxonMobil Chemical announced that Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contracts were awarded and that all components are in FEED phase for the proposed new elastomers project at their Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company (KEMYA)* joint venture petrochemical plant.

FEED contracts were awarded to Jacobs Engineering Inc. and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding for process units and to Fluor Transworld Services Inc. for associated support facilities.

"This elastomers project will be the basis for the creation of a world-class rubber value chain in Saudi Arabia and a valuable extension of our offering of products and services to our customers in key markets," said Koos van Haasteren, SABIC executive vice president, Performance Chemicals.

"In addition to supporting local industry, the expansion at the KEMYA joint venture in Al-Jubail would provide additional new capacity of butyl rubber and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) specialty elastomers to meet the growing global demand for these products," said Neil Chapman, senior vice president, Polymers, ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

The project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 400,000 metric tons of rubber [butyl, styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), butadiene rubber (BR) and EPDM], thermoplastic specialty polymers and carbon black to serve emerging local and international markets in Asia and the Middle East. The project also includes the establishment of a vocational training center and product application development and support center, aligned with Saudi Arabia's National Industrial Clusters Development Program to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector in Saudi Arabia.

Third-party license agreements have been signed with Continental Carbon Company for its carbon black production technology and with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for its SBR and polybutadiene rubber technology.

The University of Akron Research Foundation was selected to design, train and support the vocational training center, The High Institute for Elastomer Industries* in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The training center will utilize the University's expertise in polymer science and education to provide elastomers technology vocational training for workers to support a planned downstream elastomers conversion industry in Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, a separate product application development and support center will be part of the new SABIC facilities at the Riyadh Techno Valley research complex at King Saud University.

The final decision to implement the elastomers project requires the approval of KEMYA's Board of Directors.

Source: SABIC

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