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Saudi ventures

Italmatch, Colonial Chemicals to build in Saudi Arabia

Two Western players, Italy’s Italmatch Chemicals and Colonial Chemicals of the US, have recently signed investment plans that will see them manufacturing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for the wider Gulf region. Terms were not disclosed in either case.

Together with Biolab Arabia, Genoa-based Italmatch has created a 60-40 joint venture called Italmatch Biolab Industrial. This will make performance additives for applications in water and process treatment, and the oil and gas sector, with a focus on thermal and membrane based desalination, at Al-Jubail.

Italmatch has already been working in Saudi Arabia for several years. The company said that it is now “strengthening its presence in the local market by establishing a fully integrated phosphorus chemistry in KSA and consolidating its leadership in desalination solutions through local production”.

The aim here, said CEO Sergio Iorio, “is to develop and complete a full manufacturing chain starting from Maaden’s phosphate rock to final downstream additives for industrial water and process end market applications in Jubail”. Biolab’s parent, the Al-Hejailan Group, already has two manufacturing units in the same plant, making over 80,000 tonnes/year of water treatment and emulsion polymers.

Meanwhile, construction has started at a Colonial Chemical M.E. Arabia, a new speciality chemicals plant at Dammam. This is a joint venture by Colonial Chemical, which is providing the technology and operations knowledge, with Saudi firms Sadeem Investments and Earth’s Reservoir for Oil & Gas (EROG).

The facility will mainly supply speciality surfactants and other chemicals, including amine oxides, quaternary ammonium compounds, hydroxypropyl sultaines, betaines, propionates, ether carboxylates, imidazolines, phosphate esters, EPI sulfonates, and phosphates, from locally sourced raw materials. Applications include oilfield, industrial lubricants, water treatment, paper, paints, coatings, personal care, household care and industrial cleaning.

The plant will also offer toll blending and manufacturing capability for finished formulations and custom chemicals, something which David Anderson, president of Colonial Chemical, called “a highly desirable function in this market”. Start-up is expected in Q4.

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