Just two months after opening its $350 million polyethylene terephthalate sheet manufacturing plant, Octal Petrochemicals, a division of Oman-based Octal Holding SAOC, has reached an agreement with the Port of Salalah to establish a dedicated berth at the Middle East port.

“We now have a chemical terminal, which means we have two 5,000-metric ton tanks of monoethylene glycol linked via a dedicated pipeline to our plant,” said Nicholas Barakat, chief executive officer of Octal Petrochemicals.

By 2011, the terminal will contain a total of nine Octal Petrochemical storage tanks, he said. The new manufacturing plant is expected to produce 300,000 metric tons of PET this year, and the volume will increase to 500,000 tons when a $250 million expansion is completed in 2011, he said.

“That volume will be four times greater than any other plant in the world,” Barakat said.

 The new plant is unique, he said, in that it does not use resin pellets but transforms the raw materials — PET and MEG — directly into the finished product. Electricity use is cut by 65%, he said.

The resulting PET sheets permit the manufacture of trays and clamshells with incredible consistency, said Joe Barenberg, Octal Holding’s Dallas-based chief operating officer.

The first shipments of the new sheets, which Octal Petrochemicals markets as D-PET, went to manufacturers in early March. They are reporting increased volumes by as much as 10%, Barenberg said.

Octal Petrochemicals’ biggest customers are in North America and Europe, he said, but the Port of Salalah is an excellent location from which to ship to all regions of the world.

The port permits Octal Petrochemicals to manufacture and ship the same day, Barakat said. Located one mile from the sheet manufacturing plant, it makes for a very efficient logistics system, he said.

“We’ll be able to provide better service, better timing, better flexibility and more competitive prices,” Barakat said.