Arlanxeo Plans Rubber Plant in Saudi Arabia

30.05.2023 - Arlanxeo has announced plans to build a rubber production plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The 140,000 t/y plant, which will be part of the $11 billion Amiral complex planned by Saudi Aramco and Total Energies, will produce two elastomers: ultra-high cis polybutadiene (NdBR) and lithium butadiene rubber (LiBR).

The project announcement follows a final investment decision last December by Aramco and Total Energies on the complex, which will comprise a mixed feed cracker producing 1.65 million t/y of ethylene, two PE units, a butadiene extraction facility and other associated derivative plants.

Olivier Thorel, chairman of Arlanxeo’s shareholders’ committee and senior vice president of chemicals at Aramco, said the proposed rubber plant “underscores Arlanxeo’s drive to grow in a competitive market.”  “With Arlanxeo’s unparalleled expertise in developing, producing and marketing high-performance synthetic rubbers, the strategic rationale for the project is clear and compelling,” he added.

Arlanxeo expects to award engineering, procurement and construction contracts in the second half of 2023, with construction scheduled to start in 2024 and commercial operation due in 2027.

NdBR is predominately used in high-performance tires, particularly in the tread area because of its proven ability to improve fuel economy, influence grip and increase tire durability. LiBR is mainly used to improve the impact resistance of plastic products such as those used in food packaging and household appliances.

The synthetic rubber producer has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Aramco since the Middle East oil giant acquired the 50% share held by Lanxess at the end of 2018.

Author: Eline Burridge, Freelance Journalist