The Saudi Butanol Company (Sabuco) joint venture has begun commercial operations at the Middle East’s first and the world’s largest butanol plant. The SR1.2bn ($293.3mn) plant was built at Jubail on Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast (see map, MEES, 1 April), adding to an increasingly sophisticated portfolio of chemicals being produced by the kingdom as it pursues economic diversity.

The plant has capacity to produce 330,000 tons/year of n-butanol and 11,000 t/y of iso-butanol from propylene feedstock. It was integrated with a Saudi Acrylic Acid Company (SAAC) acrylates plant in the National Industrialization Company (Tasnee) complex at Jubail. This suggests that much of the Sabuco output will be used to make butyl acrylate, a component of paints, coatings and adhesives. (CONTINUED - 310 WORDS)