Saudi Focus

Work on the first phase expansion of the plant in progress.

Work on the first phase expansion of the plant in progress.

BioLab embarks on four-phase expansion

March 2015

Biolab Arabia (BLA), a Saudi chemical company based in Jubail Industrial City, is expanding its plant in four phases, with the first of these phases already under way at a cost $25 million. 

BLA, which produces antiscalant chemicals used in thermal and reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plants in cooperation with UK-based BWA Water Additives, currently has a formulating capacity of 48,000 tonnes.

The heart of the expansion is a fully automated state-of-the-art plant, with a 30-tonne polymerisation reactor, which will enable BLA to produce more than 20,000 tonnes annually of polymers and copolymers.

The first phase, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, also includes the construction of a 7,500-sq-m building to store raw materials, and accommodate the filling line and finished drummed products.

BLA will use glacial acrylic acid in its production, supplied by Samco, a joint venture of Dow, Tasnee and Sahara, also based in Jubail Industrial City.

The overall plan.

The overall plan.

To facilitate further expansion, the first phase will also see the completion of work on infrastructure and utilities required to install more reactors, which can double its production capacity, BLA said. 

The company said the expansion will enable it to meet its own requirements of poly carboxylic acid (PCA), and also to become a key supplier of polymers and copolymers to other industries in the GCC and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. 

The expansion is also inspired by a tremendous growth in the demand for various chemicals across the Mena region, said BLA. “This growth offers reputable companies with branded products numerous opportunities to sell their solutions. However, key reasons for their inability to do so are price competitiveness and presence in the market,” says Emad Al Hejailan of Al Hejailan Group, BLA’s parent company.

He continues: “For some of these companies, the cost and time it takes to design and build a manufacturing facility, and set up an organisation to sell and distribute their products, is either not feasible, or a risky investment, among other factors.

“This is where BLA can offer to manufacture and market the products of such companies. The company can do so at costs lower than exporting the same from overseas locations and can also extend to these companies the full advantages and benefits as if they were a local manufacturer.

“Being a local manufacturer, it can ensure cost-effective products, saving on various export-related expenses such as shipping and freight, custom duties, logistics, labour, utilities and inventory holding.”

BLA aims to cater to industries related to paint, construction materials, detergents and oilfield chemicals.

The company said it extends its services as a toll and licensee manufacturer, distributor, or a joint venture partner.

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