Egypt is in the throes of a $19-billion petrochemical-plant construction boom. The national strategy, laid out in a 20-year master plan, is to boost domestic production capacities to 600,000 ton per year of ethylene and 1.9 tons per year of polymers, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Currently, Egypt’s petrochemical sector represents 27% of its total industrial production. The 2002-22 plan calls for 14 petrochemical complexes. The 2002-08 first phase involved eight plants valued at $5.6 billion. The second and third phases call for a total of 16 plants, with a total value of $13.4 billion. A joint venture of South Korea's SK Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. and Shaw Group Inc., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded a contract in September to construct a $3.5-billion ethylene plant at Ain Sokhna industrial complex, 120 kilometers east of Cairo. The contract is with Egypt's private company, Carbon Holdings.