In a press statement issued today at the 2005 Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) being held in Yokohama, Japan, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) announced plans to expand its operations in view of the growing demand for intermediates and polyolefins in the petrochemical sector. SABIC is the world’s second largest producer of ethylene glycol (EG), and by 2006, will be able to meet 22 percent of global demand, reaching a total production capacity of 3.9 million metric tons per year. SABIC’s overall expansion plans are estimated at more than U.S. $8 billion, and will increase total annual production of petrochemicals to 60 million metric tons by 2008, up from 43 million metric tons in 2004.
In addition to two new SABIC plants that are being constructed to increase EG production capacity by 2 million metric tons a year, there is planned expansion by the Eastern Petrochemical Company ‘Sharq’, a 50/50 joint venture established in 1981 with Mitsubishi Corporation and a consortium of Japanese companies. By 2008, Sharq will have increased by 2.9 million metric tons per year its production of ethylene glycol, ethylene, and polyethylene at its Jubail plant. SABIC plants in Yanbu are also being expanded.
SABIC’s most important market is Asia, accounting for over 40 percent of exports. A SABIC office was set up in Tokyo in 1990 to better serve its Japanese customers. Ar-Razi, a joint venture company with a Japanese consortium, was the first Saudi petrochemical plant to go on stream in 1983.