Domestic construction boom and a growing market for petrochemicals abroad has led to escalating petrochemical demand. This has provided the thrust for Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) to go full throttle into an expansion mode in order to cope with the escalating demands. SABIC has allocated over SAR30 billion for current and planned investments in various projects, and is also going ahead with plans for joint ventures and acquisitions. In the process, SABIC has acquired international stature as it scouts for markets overseas to leverage its strength amid stiff competition.
Already, its sizable investments have enabled it to rank as one of the world's largest exporters of granular urea; second largest producer of ethylene glycol, methanol and MTBE; third largest producer of polyethylene; fourth largest producer of polypropylene; and overall the fourth largest producer of polymers.
State-controlled SABIC, the world's largest chemical company by market value, is projected to post a near 30% increase in net income in the quarter to 30 September to SAR7.03 billion (US$1.88 billion).
Asian prices for ethylene, which costs SABIC less than US$300 per ton to produce, have ranged from US$1,250 - US$1,300 per ton in the third quarter of this year, compared with US$1,100 - US$1,200 per ton a year ago.
China's import prices for methanol, of which SABIC produced 4.09 million tons in 2005, ranged between US$330 - US$350 per ton in the third quarter, compared with US$260 per ton a year ago.