Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia — Capacity for MDI and PMDI is coming on stream but TDI will be some way off, according to a source close to Sadara, the Aramco Dow Chemical joint venture.
The source, close to the project but who did not wish to be identified said: ‘ We are now started up on both MDI and polyols. We will be ramping up slowly and filling the long supply chains such as storage locations.’
While this will be good news to a polyurethane converting industry — which has suffered from tight supply for several months and seen rising prices which could slow future PU growth — the source went on to say that ‘full production is only likely next year in line with what we expect the market growth rates to be.’
The source was unable to give a startup date for TDI.
The statements came response to UTECH-polyurethane.com questions following interviews with local trading, compounding and distribution companies in mid-July. These suggested that Sadara had started, stopped and restarted MDI production. These sources, which added that prices had ‘defied rationality’ went on to say they believe Sadara will be supplying Asia and Europe from tank farms in Dubai. They added that full production may be available by October/November. They suggested that TDI may be available much later in the year.
On 1 June Sadara announced that it had started producing commercial quantities of polymeric MDI ‘at the largest single train facility of its kind in the world.’
This is five months after that plant at the complex Sadara project was mechanically complete. CEO Ziad Al-Labban said: ‘Starting up the PMDI plants puts Saudi Arabia firmly on the map of major polyurethane producers.’
Sadara said that the plant is fully integrated through nitric acid, mono nitrobenzene, formalin, benzene, aniline and chlorine, as well as hydrogen and carbon monoxide from an integrated on-site, third-party producer.
Separately, Sadara also announced it has started propylene glycol production in Al Jubail, propylene glycol can be used as a feedstock for polyols used in polyurethane production. It was the 22 out of 26 plants located in the company’s complex at the Al Jubail Industrial City II.