Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) estimates its planned oil-to-chemicals plant to start operations by the end of 2020, as per Reuters. An estimated 10 mln tpa/200,000 bpd of crude oil is to be used as feedstock for the plant. Development of the Saudi petrochemical sector is part of Riyadh's strategy for diversifying the economy away from heavy dependence on crude export revenues.
In a statement to the stock exchange, SABIC said it was in the final stages of preliminary studies for the industrial complex in Saudi Arabia which will help provide around 100,000 direct and indirect jobs for Saudis. Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said in March the kingdom would build its first plant able to turn crude oil directly into chemicals without having to refine it first. He said the plant would be located in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia's second-largest industrial hub on the West coast.
It is not clear if the development of such a project is linked to finding alternative liquid feedstock to help meet a shortage of gas supplies, which SABIC blamed last month for limiting its expansion plans within Saudi Arabia.