Düsseldorf, Germany – Sabic will bring on stream 400 000 tonnes per annum of synthetic rubber capacity in 2015 to meet Middle Eastern demand, the company announced today at a press conference at K 2013.
Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, executive vice-president for performance chemicals, told European Rubber Journal that rumours of a delay in the project were unfounded: “We are precisely on schedule. Pre-marketing has begun to selected clients. Our rationale is to build customer relationships before the rubber comes on stream. Customers can rely on us for safety, reliability and sustainability in our chemical production; what they are interested in is solutions to their problems! We will have a flawless commissioning and production start-up.”
Both ethylene propylene diene (EPDM) and polybutadiene (PBR) rubbers will be produced. Al-Rabeeah said that production could be varied flexibly between the two types, with no fixed proportion envisaged.
He told ERJ that Sabic’s substantial investment in assets ensures consistency of supply for its customers, and that the group’s deep understanding of industry trends and challenges keeps its customers ahead of their competitors in meeting these. Local R&D centres are a particular emphasis, but without neglecting global networking between these centres.
With “huge” population growth in the Middle East, and the region around Saudi Arabia a major importer of rubber goods, Sabic sees particular potential in the automotive market (both tire and non-tire) and the construction sector. The region’s climate poses particular challenges – for instance the effects of ambient and road temperatures on tire performance and reliability.
Examples of construction sector applications for Sabic’s EPDM rubbers include bridge bearings, dock fenders, tunnel segmentation seals, flooring, window profiles, seals for building components of various types, flexible tanks and water hose.
Al-Rabeeah summed up: “Chemistry matters, but customers are more interested in physics [in terms of product characteristics and in-service performance]! We at Sabic are not making molecules; we are making solutions.”