Sipchem Mulls US Shale-based Projects

  • Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) is considering investing in shale-based projects in the US (c) ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock PhotoSaudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) is considering investing in shale-based projects in the US (c) ZUMA Press Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) is considering investing in shale-based projects in the US, CEO Amad Al Ohali said in an interview with Bloomberg news agency.

An investment would represent the Saudi company’s first foreign venture and Al Ohali said it would likely need to partner with a US company.

In Saudi Arabia, growth prospects are unfortunately very limited due to a lack of feedstock for basic products, Al Ohali said. He told Bloomberg: “Our really big potential is more into the basic [products] in the US based on shale gas and we are looking into this area. It’s not going to be easy because we don’t know the business landscape in the US, but definitely we are targeting hopefully to do something this year.” He added that Sipchem would initially use cash to pay for the project instead of borrowing money.

Al Ohali also referred to the Saudi government’s increase in feedstock prices two years ago, describing it as a “wakeup call for our industry”.

Sipchem has been undertaking a restructuring program across its key functions as it strives to enhance its competitiveness and transform into a fully integrated petrochemical company. Ohali said this process will continue to create value in some areas, particularly marketing and research.

The company produces methanol, butanediol, tetrahydrofuran and other specialty chemicals, along with key intermediates such as acetic acid/anhydride and vinyl acetate monomer as well as polymers including LDPE and polybutylene terephthalate.

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