JEDDAH(Reuters) – Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) may find another location for a $5.2 billion petrochemical plant planned for China if Beijing keeps delaying approval for the project, SABIC’s chairman said on Sunday.
SABIC, the world’s largest petrochemical company by market value, says it has been waiting for more than a year to start work on the complex in northeast Dalian, which will include an oil refinery and an ethylene plant.
“We hope this approval gets completed so that we can go ahead with our investment in the project,” SABIC Chairman
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thunayan al-Saud told reporters in the Red Sea port of Jeddah on Sunday.
“SABIC has alternatives in more than one country … There are many opportunities in the world. But there isn’t a specific alternative to China,” he said.
SABIC hopes a big plant in China will help achieve its goal of almost doubling output to 100 million tonnes by 2015.
“We still believe the China market is promising and that the opportunity to invest in China in a good one. There is no doubt any project or economic feasibility study depends on a certain timeframe,” Prince Saud said.
SABIC has been in talks on the project with China’s Sinopec and Dalian Shide for three years, the state-controlled Saudi company said in December.
The companies have been waiting for the Chinese authorities to approve the project for 18 months; Prince Saud was quoted as saying last week.
SABIC said last April the project was on track after
Chinese President Hu Jintao stopped at the firm’s headquarters during a visit to Saudi Arabia.
SABIC produces chemicals such as ethylene, used to make plastics for goods such as toys and textiles. It also makes
fertilisers for agriculture and about 4 million tonnes of steel a year.