Saudi petchems producer Sipchem has started up the Mideast’s first ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plant. The firm’s International Polymers Company affiliate (75% Sipchem, 25% Korea’s Hanwha), has begun test production at a 200,000 tons/year plant at Jubail producing EVA as well as low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Commercial output will begin “in due course.”

Sipchem estimates the development costs at SR3bn ($800mn). The company says EVA is typically used as a feedstock for producing heat soluble adhesive resins, while LDPE is a commodity plastic used in large-scale industries such as packaging. However, some of this plant’s output will be used to supply a nearby cable insulation polymers plant. This is operated by another Sipchem affiliate, Gulf Advanced Cables Insulation Company, which began test operations in March. (CONTINUED - 280 WORDS)