Arabian Petrochemical Co (Petrokemya), an affiliate of the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), has signed a letter of intent with Tecnicas Reunidas, a Spanish company, to design, supply and construct an acrylonitrile butadiene stirene (ABS) plant at the company’s massive complex in Jubail Industrial City.

The plant is expected to start operations in the last quarter of 2014 and will have a production capacity that can reach up to 140,000 tonnes per year.

The product line, including electrical appliances, is designed to support the automotive industry. The project for the ABS plant is estimated to cost SR2.1 billion ($559.94 million), says Sabic. It did not provide the value of the contract with Tecnicas Reunidas, and said it would finance the project with its own resources.

Petrokemya is fully owned by Sabic. Sabic had announced last year that it would launch a joint venture firm, Saudi Japanese Acrylonitrile Co (Shrouq) with Japan’s Asahi Kasei Chemicals and Mitsubishi Corp to build a plant to produce acrylonitrile and sodium cyanide at one of the Sabic affiliates’ sites in Jubail, with a final investment decision due in 2012.

According to industry sources, the advantage of ABS is that this material combines the strength and rigidity of the acrylonitrile and styrene polymers with the toughness of the polybutadiene rubber.

The most important mechanical properties of ABS are impact resistance and toughness. A variety of modifications can be made to improve impact resistance, toughness, and heat resistance.