The SOCC facility

SAUDI Organometallic Chemicals Company (SOCC) has announced the start-up of its aluminium alkyls plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

SOCC, a joint venture equally owned by Albemarle Netherlands BV, a subsidiary of Albemarle Corporation, and Saudi Specialty Chemical Company, an affiliate of Sabic, will manufacture at a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per year of tri-ethyl aluminium (TEA), a Ziegler Natta co-catalyst used in the plastics industry. An ultra-low hydride grade of TEA (TEA-ULH) will also be produced at the SOCC plant. 

An SOCC statement said the new facility is designed to meet the growing needs for TEA and ULH-TEA in the region, using raw materials supplied from member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“This state-of-the-art facility clearly demonstrates SOCC’s commitment to providing a dependable supply of these essential products to the Middle East,” stated Al Saurage, executive general manager of SOCC. “This is a great achievement for our team and truly demonstrates the power of collaboration.”

“Together with Sabic, we are bringing the production of our value-added products closer to the end-user,” said Luke Kissam, CEO of Albemarle Corporation. “Successful expansion into high-growth regions such as Jubail enables closer collaboration with our customers and supports our strategy for smart, sustainable growth.”

SOCC staff at work

Mohamed Al Mady, Sabic vice chairman and CEO, commented, “The SOCC start-up is yet another milestone in Sabic’s growth strategy in a highly competitive plastics market. We once again demonstrate our commitment to stimulate national economic growth and build long-term relationships with our global customers.”

The first batch of TEA, which was successfully completed in mid-April, met or exceeded all commercial specifications. Full commercial production is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013 once customer qualifications
are completed.

US-based Albemarle Corporation is a leading global developer, manufacturer, and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food-safety and custom chemistry services. It employs approximately 4,200 people and serves customers in approximately 100 countries.

Sabic ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies and is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilisers.