SABIC: China is the world's fastest growing plastics market

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 17 -- China's rapidly growing plastics industry has prompted Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) to expand its petrochemical operations to help meet China's spiraling demand.

Yousef Al-Benyan, general manager of SABIC Asia Pacific discussed the company's plans earlier this month during ChinaPlas 2003, an international plastics and rubber trade fair in Beijing.

"China is the world's fastest growing plastics market, and its demand for petrochemicals has grown at a rapid pace (7.6%/year) over the past 10 years. For the next 2 years, demand is expected to continue to grow at 7.4% annually," Al-Benyan said.

SABIC has six projects coming on stream by 2006.

The company's production is now more than 40 million tonnes/year, and the company's planned construction, debottlenecking, and expansion projects are expected to increase production capacity by 5.5 million tonnes/year.

One of the largest polymer providers to China, SABIC's polymer products are manufactured by its affiliates throughout Saudi Arabia, including Arabian Petrochemical Co. (Petrokemya) and Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co. (Safco).

SABIC's construction, debottlenecking and expansion projects are:
--a polyethylene plant at Petrokemya at Al-Jubail Industrial City on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The 800,000 tonne/year capacity plant is slated for completion in the first quarter 2004.
--an ethylene plant at Jubail United Petrochemical Co. (United), also at Al-Jubail, with capacity of 1 million tones/year, which is slated to come on stream in the second half of 2004.
--a new linear olefins plant at United with a capacity of 150,000 million tones/year to be ready by 2004-05.
--a third butene-1 plant at Petrokemya with a capacity of 130,000 tonnes/year to be ready by the first quarter of 2005.
--an ammonia and urea plant complex at Al-Jubail. Commercial production is slated for the first quarter of 2006 with a capacity of 1.1 million tonnes/year of ammonia and 1.1 million tonnes/year of urea.
--a new, seventh ethylene glycol (EG) plant at United. The plant, which will have an annual capacity of 690,000 tonnes/year, is expected to go on stream by the end of 2005. This will bring SABIC's total EG production to more than 3.5 million tones/year by 2006, meeting more than 20% of global demand, the company said.

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