Acetex signed final agreements with its joint venture partners on April 19, 2004, and production is scheduled to start in 2007.

“When complete, [this project] will almost double the acetyls capacity of our company and make us the low-cost producer in both Europe and the Far East,” says Acetex chairman and CEO Brooke Wade. “This fits well with our long-term growth strategy of becoming a global chemical company.”

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The plant, which will be located in Tasnee’s petrochemical plant in the Jubail Industrial City on Saudi Arabia’s east coast, will create about 800 jobs directly and indirectly and take several thousand men-years to build. It will employ state-of-the-art proprietary technology, increasing efficiency of production of items used in industries such as car manufacturing, construction, consumer goods, packaging, pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Acetex chose the location partly for its first-class infrastructure. Created from scratch in the mid-1970s, the government has invested about $40bn in the 8000-hectare Jubail Industrial City, sponsoring and creating infrastructure to support nearly a dozen industries, including chemicals, iron and steel, oil refining and petrochemicals.

Another important factor in Acetex’s decision was the easy supply of natural gas, one of the company’s principal feedstocks.