Sabic in final stages of oil to chemicals complex
Frank Laganier, Asia-Pacific Director for Solvay Engineering Plastics

Middle East petrochemicals producer Sabic is finalising its preliminary studies for the construction of the world’s first Oil-to-Chemicals (OTC) complex in Saudi Arabia, according to Chairman Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thenayan Al-Saud, and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. Prince Saud made this announcement as he inaugurated the Sabic Innovation Day.

The OTC complex will comprise a configuration of unit operations that, in combination, will generate the world's highest yield conversion of oil to chemicals, says Sabic. The Riyadh-headquartered firm expects to utilise around 10 million tonnes of crude oil at the complex to produce petrochemicals, and eventually advanced speciality chemicals in line with its 2025 strategy.

The complex is expected to start up by the end of the current decade and will provide an aggregated total of around 100,000 new jobs, according to current company projections. The project comes at a time when the company is focusing strongly on research and innovation to produce new materials to face global market challenges.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Al-Mady, Sabic Vice Chairman/CEO In his keynote address, said that the company is seeing the rewards of innovation leadership and driving the technology agenda in key areas of its business. “The OTC complex will set a new competitive standard and establish Saudi Arabia as a technology leader in the petrochemical industry. OTC technology allows for the conversion of crude oil to petrochemical products at the highest ever achieved conversion rate in a competitive and sustainable way.”

To help spur innovation globally, Al-Mady also announced an annual Innovation Award to entrepreneurs where Sabic is offering cash awards of up to SR10 million along with research and commercial support for innovative ideas or existing inventions in the field of smart polymers. Applications will be accepted electronically through the Sabic website from June 1, 2014.

“Every year Sabic screens more than 250 start-ups for possible partnership,” said Al-Mady, adding that the innovation award is to encourage more projects.

“Sabic’s innovation engine is firing on all cylinders,” he told the attendees. “Innovation is key to the future not only of Sabic but more broadly for our country. Innovation can make Saudi Arabia a knowledge economy and a more energy efficient environment. But it takes the continued efforts of government, academia and business to generate an ecosystem for growth. We are and will continue to be part of those efforts,” he added.


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