JEDDAH – The National Methanol Company (Ibn Sina), a manufacturing affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for its polyoxymethylene (POM) project to an international company, bringing the company closer to producing the high strength, low friction engineering plastic, in support of Saudi Arabia’s vision to expand and diversify its manufacturing sector and create employment opportunities in downstream industries.
The project is an expansion of Ibn Sina’s existing operations, and is a joint venture between SABIC and CTE, a company owned by the US specialty materials company, Celanese Corporation and Duke Energy.
The POM plant at Ibn Sina is expected to have an annual capacity of 50,000 tons. POM is primarily used in the auto industry, electronics, food processing and other vital sectors, which hold substantial value to Saudi Arabia’s downstream sector development.
Speaking about the project, Mohamed Al-Mady, SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO, said SABIC’s strategic partnership with Celanese gives the company the benefit of working with an esteemed market leader in the POM industry. “The advantages from the new product are anticipated to be directly reflected in the development of Saudi Arabia’s downstream manufacturing sector. We are hopeful that the opportunities for investment and employment will contribute significantly to the diversification of our local economy.”
Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, SABIC Executive Vice President, Performance Chemicals SBU, said POM is a preferred, non-toxic product for specialized applications and complex machining. “The emergence of SABIC as a provider of POM is in step with Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Clusters Development Program. It is yet another significant step for SABIC towards our goal of being a premium provider of specialty products of the highest standards,” he said.
POM is a highly crystalline polymer that is most noted for its high stiffness, mechanical strength, abrasion resistance and good resistance to chemicals and solvents. It withstands attack from harsh chemicals and wash downs, and keeps machinery moving without lock-ups caused by corroded metal components. – SG