February 16, 2017 | Natasha Alperowicz
The Saudi minister of commerce and investment Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi said on a visit this week to Algiers, Algeria, that SABIC and Algeria’s state energy group Sonatrach are about to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement petrochemical projects in a joint-venture (JV) partnership. The MoU will cover three projects, according to Qasabi. He spoke after a meeting in Algiers with Algeria’s energy minister Noureddine Bouterfa.
"We noted promising investment opportunities in petrochemistry in Algeria. Both countries have significant gross wealth that encourages partnership, and this is what we seek currently, Qasabi said. He added that Algeria is positioned with access to African and European markets. Sonatrach CEO Amine Maazouzi confirmed to the local press that an MoU between Sonatrach and SABIC had been finalized and would be signed soon.
The agreement would mean SABIC’s return to investment projects in Algeria. The company was competing against Total a decade ago to form a JV for an ethane cracker and downstream units at Arzew, a project that was awarded to Total but never took off. Total signed an MoU recently with Sonatrach for a propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene project in Algeria. Versalis (Milan, Italy) has also signed an MoU to develop a petchem project in Algeria.
SABIC has been expanding its geographic spread recently as advantaged feedstocks in Saudi Arabia dwindle. It has signed an agreement to develop a coal-based petchem complex in China and, in the United States, joined forces in a petchem project with ExxonMobil Chemical, to be built in Texas or Louisiana.