Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is looking to its future while also acknowledging part of its past.
The industrial conglomerate based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on July 25 said it was considering a petrochemical project on the U.S. Gulf Coast that would be jointly owned with ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
That announcement came three days after Sabic's Sabic Innovative Plastics unit made a $1 million gift to the Berkshire United Way, which serves residents in Berkshire County, Mass. Sabic IP is leaving its longtime Berkshire County home in Pittsfield, Mass. — first opened in 1903 by General Electric Co. — by the end of the year.
The petrochemical JV would be located in Texas or Louisiana near natural gas feedstock, Sabic officials said in a news release. It would include a steam cracker and derivative units.
Polyethylene resin is not mentioned in the release, but several firms — including ExxonMobil — are adding large amounts of PE in the Gulf Coast region because of newfound supplies of shale-based natural gas. During 2017, ExxonMobil is expected to add as much as 3 billion pounds of new PE capacity at its site in Baytown, Texas.
Sabic and ExxonMobil have worked together on major chemical joint ventures in Saudi Arabia for 35 years. “We are focused on geographic diversification to supply new markets,” said Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, Sabic's vice chairman and CEO, in the release.
“We have the capability to design a project with a unique set of attributes that would make it competitive globally,” ExxonMobil Chemical President Neil Chapman added.
Before making final investment decisions, officials said the firms will conduct studies and work with state and local officials to identify a site with adequate infrastructure.
The $1 million donation from Sabic to the United Way will in part be spent on the organization's programming in early childhood literacy, Berkshire United Way President and CEO Kristine Hazzard told the Berkshire Eagle newspaper.
At a donation ceremony, Greg Adams, Sabic Americas regional vice president, praised the Berkshire United Way's “relentless focus and passion for improving the quality of life for the residents of Pittsfield and Berkshire County,” according to an article in the paper.