Saudi Arabia increases petrochemical production, increases natural gas consumption

Saudi Arabia has raised its share in global petrochemical markets by 10% or 15 million tons/year, said Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki at an energy meeting, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Also at that meeting, he and Saudi Arabia's minister of industry and electricity discussed the need for investment in the natural gas sector.


RIYADH�Saudi Arabia has raised its share in global petrochemical markets by 10% or 15 million tons/year, said Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki at an energy meeting, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Also at that meeting, he and Saudi Arabia's minister of industry and electricity discussed the need for investment in the natural gas sector.

The prince said the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) would increase petrochemical production to 35 million tons a year by the end of 2000, up from 20 million tons in 1999.

The petrochemicals industry had provided 16,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and had helped expand the use of gas as feedstock, he pointed out.

Gas consumption in Saudi Arabia reached 1.75 million boe in 1999, or 30% of that of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' 11 members, he said. Higher global energy consumption between now and the year 2020 would strengthen the importance of gas as a clean fuel, he added.

The minister of industry and electricity, Hashem Yamani, said that Saudi Arabia would need $117 billion in investment over the next 23 years to boost power generation in partnership with the private sector.

He expected 54% of that figure to go to power generation, 29% to transmission, and 17% to distribution.

He said that the government had taken a conscious strategic decision to create a self-supporting electricity power sector with increased reliance on private sector participation for its development.

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