UK-based chemicals multinational INEOS has partnered with French oil and gas company Total and state owned Saudi Aramco to build three chemicals plants in Saudi Arabia.

The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the Jubail 2 complex, which will host INEOS’s first ever plants in the Middle East.

These developments consist of a 425,000 tonne (t) acrylonitrile plant, a 400,000t linear alpha olefin (LAO) plant and an associated polyalphaolefin (PAO) plant. All three plants are expected to start production in 2025.

The acrylonitrile plant will be the first of its kind in the Middle East, while the LAO and PAO plants are expected to be the most energy efficient units of their kind in the world. The plants are part of a $5bn petrochemical complex being developed by Saudi Aramco and Total, which is expected to supply more than $4bn of speciality chemicals units and downstream derivatives.

INEOS Oligomers CEO Joe Walton said: “INEOS Oligomers is one of the world’s leading merchant suppliers of LAO and PAO. The size and location of these new plants reinforces our commitment to keep pace with our LAO and PAO customers’ expanding requirements globally.”

INEOS Nitriles CEO Paul Overment said: “Global demand for acrylonitrile continues to grow ahead of GDP, to meet the demand for lighter, stronger, energy efficient materials such as ABS, composites and carbon fibre.

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“This first investment in the Middle East consolidates our position as the market leader and shows a clear and ongoing commitment to meet our customers’ needs wherever they are in the world.”

According to INEOS, the location of these plants in Saudi Arabia will give the company access to competitively-priced energy and raw materials and a well-invested infrastructure. This will enable the company to better serve customers in the Middle East and further markets across Asia.

The project represents a continuation of INEOS’s growth strategy, which has included a $1.3bn investment in the UK energy industry and a new chemical manufacturing plant in Antwerp as well as acquisitions in China and capacity increases in the US.

INEOS chair Jim Ratcliffe said: “This is a major milestone for INEOS that marks our first investment in the Middle East.

“The timing is right for us to enter this significant agreement in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Aramco and Total. We are bringing advanced downstream technology which will add value and create further jobs in The Kingdom.”