BP and Oman Oil move forward with $1bn acetic acid scheme

British energy firm BP and Oman Oil Company are taking steps to advance plans for a major acetic acid plant in Duqm.

According to a report by the Oman Daily Observer, the scheme would require a $1 billion investment and make use of BP's patented SaaBre technology to manufacture acetic acid from synthesis gas.

The UK energy giant announced in December 2013 that it had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Oman Oil Company to develop an acetic acid manufacturing plant in the sultanate. The MoU covered a joint economic evaluation and a detailed feasibility study for a proposed one million tonne per year plant in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm.

On Tuesday, at the OPAL Oil and Gas Conference in Muscat, BP Oman president Yusuf Al Ojaili announced that the feasibility study was now being conducted. He was speaking during a panel discussion featuring chief executive officers of a number of leading Oman-based producers.

He told the conference: "We hope the project to be on stream by 2023-2024, in line with the development of a petrochemical complex by Duqm Refinery."

Mr Al Ojaili added that BP had been in discussions with the government and a partner, with both parties interested in moving the project forward.

Acetic acid is an exceptionally versatile organic chemical and has applications in numerous industries. It plays a part in the manufacture of products including paint, adhesives, inks, resins and fibres.

In September, BP revealed it had started production at Oman's Khazzan gas field, the company's largest start-up project of 2017. Run by BP and Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production, the site is expected to supply the Sultanate with one billion cubic feet of gas a day.