‘We plan a new cracker in Yanbu and we are in the final stages of discussions with Saudi Aramco for another cracker to be located in Jubail,’ Al-Mady said. He added that feedstock agreements with Aramco have already been secured for the Yanbu project, which will be a ‘100 per cent Sabic project’. However, the project is still in its early stages. ‘We have not even started the design yet,’ he said.

A second cracker will be built in Jubail in partnership with Aramco. Both units will have capacities exceeding 1 million t/y and will handle different feedstock input. ‘Cracking ethane along with other products gives us more breadth for ethane utilisation and it will prolong the growth period for ethane,’ says Al-Mady.

Sabic is also understood to be in talks with Aramco for the estimated $3,000 million refinery upgrade and petrochemicals complex scheme at Rabigh. The project will entail the construction of an ethane cracker with capacity to produce at least 1 million t/y of ethylene (MEED 12:9:03).

Sabic recently posted net profits of $4,755 million ($1,268 million) for the first nine months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 133 per cent. In 2002, the company produced 39 million t/y of product. Sabic aims to increase production to 48 million t/y by 2010, a figure that is likely to be exceeded, according to Al-Mady (see Petrochemicals Special Report, pages 29-42).