Saudi-US form joint venture to hasten ethane cracker plant

The Saudi Arabian government is the majority shareholder in SABIC, which is building a cracker plant in Texas

Heavy equipment started to arrive on site in Q4 2017.
Heavy equipment started to arrive on site in Q4 2017.

Saudi's SABIC and US oil giant ExxonMobil have created a joint venture (JV) to accelerate construction of an ethane cracker plant in Texas that will create 600 jobs.

The third JV between the respective chemical and oil giants will trigger a push in construction of the 1.8 million tonne ethane cracker, which will also include a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units.

Around 6,000 construction jobs during the peak period of work will be created, as well as 3,500 indirect jobs, and 600 permanent roles when the ethane cracker plant in San Patricio County, Texas. is fully operational.

READ: US-Saudi consortium to build mixed-use development in Riyadh

SABIC and ExoonMobil announced plans to construct the ethane cracker in 2016. Building work is pending completion of environmental permits.

The plant is expected to be operational in either 2021 or 2022, according to ExxonMobil.

The cracker plant project, known as the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, is expected to deliver a $22bn (SAR82.5bn) boost to the US economy during construction.

On the third JV between the two giants, SABIC vice chairman and chief executive officer, Yousef Al-Benyan, said: “We are very pleased to announce the creation of what is now planned to be the third joint venture between our two companies.

“We look forward to the next phase of the project, which supports not only our goals for global diversification, but also supports Saudi Vision 2030. In addition, we are proud of the role the project will play in enhancing the economic profile of San Patricio County, Texas.”

President of the ExxonMobil Chemical Company, John Verity, added: “The new joint venture expands our long relationship with SABIC and builds on the success of several other joint projects.

“The project will create value not only for both of our companies, but for the surrounding communities through the creation of jobs and economic growth. We appreciate the support we’re receiving, and look forward to continuing our conversations with San Patricio County residents and businesses as we progress.” 

The Saudi Arabian government owns 70% of the shares in SABIC, the remaining 30% are publically traded on the Tadawul, Saudi's stock exchange.

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