Plastic solutions providers Borouge has awarded $1.3bn contract to Linde Engineering to build its new ethane cracker.

The cracker, which will have a capacity of approximately 1.5 million tons per annum, is considered to be the largest gas cracker in the world.

The value of the contract is approximately $1.3bn and is awarded on a lump sum EPC turn key basis. Work is expected to begin in first week of December 2006, and is scheduled for completion in 41 months.

This award is the first step in Borouge 2, the major expansion project being undertaken by Borouge, which will triple production capacity.

Borouge 2 is a key part of Borouge's strategy for growth, tripling its production capacity and consolidating its position in markets throughout the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa. It is expected to come on stream by 2010.

As well as the ethylene cracker, the Borouge 2 project comprises the world's biggest olefins conversion unit, producing 752 Kilotonnes per annum and two Borstar polypropylene plants with a combined annual capacity of 800 Kt along with a new Borstar Enhanced PR plant that will have an annual capacity of 540 Kt to compliment the existing 600 Kt unit.

In addition, it will include a general Utilities and Offsite package. The award of the above 3 remaining packages is expected during first and second quarter 2007.

The new expansion will be located next to Borouge's existing petrochemical complex in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.