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BP Plans $1b Petrochemical Plant in Oman

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 3/17/2014, Location: Middle East

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British oil giant BP is negotiating with the Oman government to build a large petrochemical plant in Duqm, with an envisaged investment of over $1 billion, to manufacture acetic acid using a patented technology.

BP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Oil and Gas to build the project, which will be of strategic importance to Oman's economy, Jamie Bowden, British Ambassador to the Sultanate, told Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.

"With this potential investment, BP intends to build the world's first acetic acid manufacturing plant using BP's new SaaBre process. This is a breakthrough process in converting synthetic gas to synthetic acid, which will lead to a reduction in manufacturing costs," said Bowden, adding that only BP has this technology. "So, Oman can then become the holder of this technology. It (the project) will be the biggest plant of this type in the Middle East."

Acetic acid is a versatile intermediate chemical, used in a variety of products, such as paints, adhesives and solvents, as well as in the production of purified terephthalic acid, used extensively for manufacturing polyester.

The ambassador also noted that the petrochemical project will offer several opportunities for downstream expansion. If everything goes as planned, the United Kingdom's investment in Oman will increase significantly.

Bowden also pointed out that another $342 million investment in the Sohar Free Zone was recently announced by Tri-Star Resources - a joint venture formed by investors from the United Kingdom, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The joint venture firm will "build a pyrometallurgical facility for the recovery or antimony as metal ingots or oxide powder from sulphide concentrates."

He claimed that the location of the facility in the Gulf region provides an excellent centralised logistics route, a supply of secure and relatively inexpensive energy, a modern infrastructure, an experienced workforce and strong industrial partners.

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