Muscat: A major project to produce 30,000 tonnes of sebacic acid per annum in the Duqm free zone will be commissioned next month.
The 100 per cent export-oriented unit of Sebacic Oman was established with a capital expenditure of $62.7 million. This is the first sebacic acid manufacturing project in the entire Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
“A trial run for the Sebacic Oman project started on December 25,” Pradeepkumar B Nair, chief executive officer of the company, told Times of Oman. The trial is for three months and the company plans to commission its plant within the Duqm free zone in March.
Indian and Omani investors have promoted the state-of-the-art export-oriented sebacic acid project with a capital expenditure of $62.7 million.
Sebacic acid, which 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, is manufactured from castor oil. Nair remarked that the entire production from the Duqm plant would be exported to the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
Sebacic acid is also used to produce biodegradable packaging to replace cancer-causing plastics. Food packages for children in the United States and Europe are being produced with biodegradable plastics.
Demand for sebacic acid has been growing due to a ban on plastics for packaging food products for children in several developed countries and due to increasing aerospace applications. The castor oil derivatives market is worth $15 billion per annum and a major demand is coming from the United States, Europe and Japan.
The company plans to import castor oil from India. As much as 70 per cent of the world’s castor oil is produced in the Indian state of Gujarat. The castor plant grows on any soil and is naturally found in Oman.
Nair earlier said that he had a similar plant in Gujarat and his company had been exporting sebacic acid to several countries globally.
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 proposed liquid jetty was also considered an advantage.
In addition, Sebacic Oman plans to set up a 10,000 tonne per annum-capacity project to produce bio-nylon (nylon 6-10 and nylon 10-10) as a forward integration of the sebacic acid project with a capital expenditure of $250 million. This is going to be the first project to produce bio-based nylon in the entire Middle East region.