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Sun 3 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Honeywell seals US$2.9bn tech deal

SaudI European Petrochemical (Ibn Zahr) has awarded Honeywell a US$2.9m contract to provide process automation technology for its newest polypropylene plant, the two companies announced last week.

Saudi European Petrochemical (Ibn Zahr) has awarded Honeywell a US$2.9m contract to provide process automation technology for its newest polypropylene plant, the two companies announced last week.

Ibn Zahr, a unit of petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic), will use the US industrial supplies manufacturer's Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) to improve efficiency at the new plant, as well as link the facility with two existing plants at the site.

"By tying these plants together on the common Experion platform, Ibn Zahr can dramatically reduce engineering and maintenance costs," said Manivannan Sriraman, lead engineer for Sabic.

"We have a tight production schedule to follow, and we know from two decades of working with Honeywell that it has the resources and technology to meet these demands," he added.

Experion is widely used in chemical plants throughout the globe to streamline production. It gives operators better information to make decisions on the plant floor.

Experion can also be employed to more safely automate start-up and shutdown sequences. This integration is crucial in a facility such as a chemical plant, where volatile products make for dangerous working environments.

The new plant, located in Al Jubail on the Arabian Gulf, will use Experion to manage the production of approximately 500,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year.

Currently Ibn Zahr produces 640,000 tonnes per year at the Al Jubail site. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used in everything from food packaging and plastics to clothing and automotive equipment.

"Bringing three plants onto a consistent operating system can be a challenging process, but technology like Experion makes the job simpler because it works side-by-side with legacy systems and even non-Honeywell technology," said Simon Park, regional general manager for Honeywell.

In May, Honeywell announced a US$7.7m deal to supply the PKS technology for the world's largest paraxylene plant, the US$1.2bn Sohar Aromatics plant, located at Oman's Port of Sohar development.

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