Sabic mulls site change for China petchem plant

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) is growing impatient with Chinese delays concerning a planned $5.2 billion petrochemical plant for Dalian, Liaoning Province, and may seek another location, according to the company's chairman.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 -- Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) is growing impatient with Chinese delays concerning a planned $5.2 billion petrochemical plant for Dalian, Liaoning Province, and may seek another location, according to the company's chairman.

Prince Saud bin Thunayan al-Saud said his state-owned firm had been in talks about the project with Sinopec and Dalian Shide for 3 years, and that the companies have been waiting 18 months for Chinese authorities—the National Development and Reform Commission—to approve the project.

"We hope this approval gets completed so that we can go ahead with our investment in the project," Al-Saud said, adding that Sabic has alternatives in more than one country and that there are many other opportunities worldwide. However, he conceded that "there isn't a specific alternative to China."

He said, "We still believe the China market is promising and that the opportunity to invest in China in a good one," adding that "there is no doubt any project or economic feasibility study depends on a certain timeframe."

In October 2004 Sabic announced the 50-50 joint venture project that is to include a 1.3 million tonne/year ethylene plant and a 10 million tonne/year refinery. At the time Sabic hoped to see the facility online by 2010.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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