Sebaic Oman will start exporting sebacic acid from its $62 million plant in Duqm from Q1 2018, as it would become operational by the end of 2017, its CEO Pradeep Nair said, on Wednesday. Export of sebacic acid from Duqm is expected to attract other investors to the industrial port city.
Pradeep Nair said sebacic acid in powder form would be filled into flexi tanks in containers and exported from Port of Duqm to countries such as US, China and Japan and the equipment meant for the 30,000 tonnes/year plant had been arriving through the port.
Sebacic acid is used in the manufacture of biodegradable packaging for which the demand is growing worldwide. It is also used in the making of lubricants, paints and cosmetics. Nair said in Italy garbage bags were fully biodegradable and could be put straight into the compost plant.
Other byproducts of the plant such as glycerine, plasticisers and mixed fatty acid would also be filled in flexi tanks in containers and exported.
The next phase envisages a $250 million investment for producing Nylon 6,10. The third phase, Nair said would take place after an Initial Public Offering in 2024 and would entail an investment of $450 million in a project whose products would include, esters, lubricants and biodegradable polymers.
Sebacic acid is a derivative of castor oil, which would initially be imported from India. The 30,000 tonnes/year plant requires 60,000 tonnes/year of castor oil which can be derived from 140,000 tonnes of castor seeds, said Nair.
The company is in discussions with land owners in Oman, who could grow the castor plant as part of contract farming agreements. Nair said they would provide the farmers with seeds and the buyback, and the plants, which do not consume much water had been found to grow even in saline water. The aim was to produce all the plant’s requirement of castor seeds in the Sultanate, but that would take three to five years as people would have to realise that castor farming was profitable, he added.