Muscat: Sebacic Oman SAOC plans to build a bio-based nylon project as forward integration of its soon-to-be-commissioned sebacic acid project in the Duqm free zone.
The 10,000 tonne per annum-capacity project, which is expected to produce two grades of bio-nylon (nylon 6-10 and nylon 10-10), will have an estimated capital expenditure of $250 million, Pradeepkumar B Nair, chief executive officer of the company, told Times of Oman.
This is going to be the first project to produce bio-based nylon in the entire Middle East region.
“As much as 70 per cent of the $250 million will be from lending institutions and 30 per cent will be by way of equity capital,” Nair said.
Bio-based nylon, which will have applications in aerospace and in engineering polymers, will use sebacic acid from the company and benzene and sulphur from Sohar-based Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industry (Orpic) as raw materials.
Nair also noted that the project is currently in the design stage, which is being carried out by the company’s technology supplier, Cong Associates. The design of the equipment, plant, and machinery will be completed in December 2018, and thereafter, the company will approach financial institutions for the required funds.
Also, once the Duqm Refinery starts operations, the company will be able to get benzene and sulphur from a nearby refinery.
A detailed feasibility study for the nylon project was conducted by an Indian engineering consultant, but Nair declined to disclose the name of the consultancy agency.
The project structure and MEP design for the venture will be carried out by Semac and Partners. The construction work is likely to start sometime in 2020, while the project is expected to be completed after two years, in 2022.
The entire production from the project will be for export to the United States, Japan and Europe. At present, only few a countries in the world, such as China, the United States and Europe, produce bio-nylon.
Meanwhile, Indian and Omani investors are promoting the state-of-the-art export-oriented sebacic acid project with a capital expenditure of $62.7 million. Sebacic acid is manufactured from castor oil. The project has a capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes of sebacic acid per annum and it is used to make high performance engine oil and lubricants, adhesives, engine coolants, biodegradable packaging, sub-sea pipe/cable coatings, aerospace polymers, anti-corrosion applications and bio-plastics.
The Oman government's tax-free incentives in Duqm and good port connectivity were some of the advantages considered before locating the project there. The demand for sebacic acid is growing due to a ban on plastics to package food products for children in several developed countries and due to increasing aerospace applications.