Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is modifying its cracker at Teesside, England, to handle shale gas imported from the United States. The $15 million cracker upgrade to use shale gas-based feedstock is scheduled to be completed during 2016.
Yousef Al-Benyan, Sabic executive vice-president, chemicals, said: “This project reflects Sabic's strong determination to take advantage of cutting-edge technology in creating new sources of competitive feedstock and energy that will allow the company to continue to build a sustainable business and deliver on its long-term vision.
“Our long-term focus is to have a business that stays profitable not only in the European region, but across our global markets.”
The cracker conversion will allow Sabic to use its existing facilities to produce olefins and their derivatives more competitively, said the company.
Construction work is already underway at Port Clarence at the North Teesside plant on a new terminal and tank storage to handle the U.S. ethane imports.
The announcement was described as “highly significant” by the London-based Chemical Industries Association's (CIA) chief executive. Steve Elliott. “It shows great faith in the UK by one of the world's leading businesses,” he added.
“I congratulate everyone involved in securing and making this investment. It is the latest signal from a global company that we can make the UK the place for chemical businesses to invest.
"Through working with government across a range of issues, the UK Chemistry Growth Partnership is shaping a successful social and environmental — as well as economic — future for our country as chemical and pharmaceutical businesses develop those all-important supply chains.”
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Sabic employs 600 people directly and 400 contractors at the Teesside plant.