ExxonMobil and SABIC to Build US Complex
US energy giant ExxonMobil and SABIC have agreed to carry out a feasibility study for a joint-venture petrochemical complex in San Patricio County, Texas, USA. The deal was one of several that were finalized between US and Saudi companies during President Trump’s recent two-day visit to the Kingdom. Former ExxonMobil head and US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was also part of the Trump delegation.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud, president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and SABIC’s chairman, commented: “This is one of the most important agreements signed during the US President's visit. In line with Saudi Vision 2030, it is intended to open avenues to supply new markets.” SABIC’s vice chairman and CEO, Yousef Al-Benyan also voiced his hopes that the joint venture would lead to additional promising projects.
Both companies have worked together for 35 years but this will be their first joint venture in the US; they already operate two joint ventures in Saudi Arabia - Al-Jubail Petrochemical (Kemya) and Saudi Yanbu Petrochemical.
The agreement covers studies on engineering design as well as an assessment of the project’s various technical and commercial aspects. It also covers the business mechanisms between both companies in the coming period.
Potentially, the complex would comprise an ethane steam cracker producing 1.8 million t/y of ethylene, feeding a monoethylene glycol unit and two PE plants, although this is subject to the outcome of the ongoing studies. A final decision is anticipated some time in 2018. The companies announced last month that they had identified a site in San Patricio County, which is located in an area rich in natural gas liquids feedstocks and with the necessary infrastructure for the project’s operation.
The proposed complex is one of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects associated with ExxonMobil’s Growing the Gulf initiative in the US that has resulted from the country’s shale-gas developments. The initiative is expected to generate more than 45,000 jobs and $20 billion in increased economic activity in Texas and Louisiana. Investments began in 2013 and are anticipated to continue through at least 2022.