JUBAIL, Saudi Arabia—Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) has announced the commercial start-up of butadiene synthetic rubber production at its Kemya joint venture plant with ExxonMobil.
In a filing with the Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul, Sabic said Oct. 23 a pilot plant for the production of urethane-based elastomers had also started at the plant.
Additionally, the company has started pilot production of halobutyl rubber as well as polypropylene mono-diene and thermoplastic specialty polymers, the filing added.
Sabic expects to start commercial production during the first quarter of 2017.
Kemya is a 50/50 joint venture between Sabic and Exxon Chemical Arabia Inc, an affiliate of ExxonMobil.
The $3.37 billion investment will have the capacity to produce up to 400,000 metric tons per year of rubber—including halobutyl, styrene-butadiene, polybutadiene, and EPDM rubbers—specialty thermoplastics and carbon black to serve local markets, the Middle East and Asia.
Separately Sabic said that Kemya facility will supply of approximately 200,000 tons of synthetic rubber per year to support conversion industries in EMEA region
The project will create about 600 jobs once fully operational.
Kemya's 50 kpta carbon black unit started commercial production in Al-Jubail in March.
The facility is based on carbon black production technology licensed by Continental Carbon. Output, which will go mainly to the tire industry, is to be commercialized by Continental Carbon Europe, under the Continex tradename.
This new plant will help Continental Carbon expand its presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in Asia Pacific, according to Monique Lempereur, managing director of Continental Carbon Europe.
“The license to Kemya is also bringing to the market a new competitive source of carbon black produced by a large and reputable joint venture,' said Lempereur.