SABIC and ExxonMobil Study US Complex
Saudi Arabian chemical giant SABIC and an affiliate of ExxonMobil are weighing the potential development of a joint petrochemical complex on the US Gulf Coast. If it goes ahead, the complex would be located in the states of Texas or Louisiana near natural gas feedstock supply and would comprise a steam cracker and derivative units.
The companies have not revealed any potential locations, but a US report said they were considering sites in Victoria and Corpus Christi in Texas, and St. James and Ascension in Louisiana. Before making a final investment decision, the companies will perform necessary studies and work with state and local officials to help identify a potential site with adequate infrastructure access. A timescale for the proposed project has not been revealed.
Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, CEO of SABIC, said the group is focused on geographic diversification to supply new markets. “The proposed venture would capture competitive feedstock and reinforce SABIC’s strong position in the value chain,” he commented. Neil Chapman, ExxonMobil’s president, added: “We have the capability to design a project with a unique set of attributes that would make it competitive globally. That is vitally important as most of the chemical demand growth in the next several decades is anticipated to come from developing economies.”
ExxonMobil and SABIC already operate joint ventures together in Saudi Arabia, notably Kemya and Yanpet. SABIC has been considering building a cracker in the US for several years to take advantage of the country’s booming shale gas industry. However, many projects that were announced at a time when oil prices were very high are now being reassessed in light of lower crude values.