Kemya is a 50-50 joint venture between SABIC and Exxon Chemical Arabia Inc., an affiliate of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. The companies have approved the next stage of project development engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and construction is anticipated to be finished in 2015.
The facility will have the capacity to produce up to 400,000 tons per year of product, including halobutyl, styrene butadiene, polybutadiene, and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubbers, thermoplastic specialty polymers, and carbon black and will serve the local markets, the Middle East and Asia.
The two companies have collaborated since 1980 when they established the joint venture, which produces polyethylene, ethylene, and propylene. The new synthetic rubber project represents a broadening of Kemya's product portfolio.
Associated with the new Kemya elastomers facility is the establishment of the High Institute for Elastomer Industries (HIEI), a vocational training center in Yanbu, a product application center in Riyadh, and thermoplastic polyolefin compounding and inventory management facilities in Jubail.
The facilities are aligned with Saudi Arabia's national industrial clusters development program to expand and diversify its manufacturing sector. The HIEI will employ Saudis as instructors to deliver polymer science education programs developed at the University of Akron Research Foundation in Ohio to train Saudis for the Kingdom's developing elastomers conversion industry.
An expanding transportation infrastructure in the Middle East and Asia Pacific has created strong demand for rubber products, according to the news release. The new Kemya elastomers project will help meet this growing demand. The facility will rely on commercially competitive, high-impact technologies, including proprietary ExxonMobil EPDM, thermoplastic specialty polymers, and halobutyl rubber technologies.
"The expansion will employ the latest proprietary processes and product technologies to meet the growing global demand for specialty elastomers," said Neil Chapman, senior vice president, polymers, for ExxonMobil Chemical.