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SAUDI METHACRYLATES

MMA and PMMA plant set for production / Construction of joint venture facility in Saudi Arabia began in 2014
Sabic (Riyadh / Saudi Arabia; www.sabic.com) is set to commence production of MMA and PMMA at its Jubail plant as part of its joint venture (Saudi Methacrylates) with Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC, Tokyo / Japan; www.m-chemical.co.jp/en). Construction of the gas-fed plant began three years ago, a move which followed three years of planning. The operation has a capacity of 250,000 t/y MMA and 40,000 t/y of PMMA. It is said to be the world’s largest and will use the “Alpha” technology developed by MRC subsidiary Lucite International (Southampton / UK; www.lucite.com).

The operation will introduce new high-value products manufactured for the first time in the Middle East. When the project was first brought to the industry’s attention, Sabic said it would open up opportunities in downstream industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, medical technologies and appliances.

As the project got underway, Mitsubishi Rayon said it planned to use Saudi Methacrylates as a “strategic supply base for growing emerging markets such as those of Eastern Europe, India, the Middle East or Africa.” Operational trials at the Jubail plant are due to commence shortly and commercial production is expected to start in the middle of 2017.

The global MMA market is currently suffering from severe bottlenecks, which have recently led to delays in the delivery and allocation of PMMA moulding compounds In this respect, this announcement is a glimmer of hope for the industry.
 
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