The global oil industry is not likely to see prices return to $100 per barrel since high prices prompt more unconventional producers to reenter the market, said Mohammed al-Madi, Saudi Arabia's governor for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. "We're not against shale oil. We welcomed shale oil, but it's not fair for high-cost producers to push low-cost producers out of the market," he said.
Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC plans to enter the U.S. shale natural gas market this year and is "in talks with a few big names in the U.S.," said CEO Mohamed al-Mady. "We expect to enter the market sometime this year," al-Mady said. The company's investments are unlikely to be large initially, he noted.
The Upper Ohio Valley will definitely secure an ethane cracker as natural gas fields in the Utica and Marcellus shale regions make the area attractive for a petrochemical facility, said Don Rigby, executive director of the Regional Economic Development Partnership. "The amount of ethane coming out of these wells will eventually lead someone to build a cracker," Rigby said. "On a regular basis, there is someone in here looking," he added.
Sabic is set to decide by the end of next year whether to invest in a U.S. cracker facility, said company CEO and Vice Chairman Mohamed Al-Mady. "We are studying different opportunities in the United States with a few companies and different sites based on shale gas. It takes time, of course," Al-Mady said. "But [we] cannot announce something [yet]. ... I am sure once we are together with our future partners, this will be announced. But now it is only at discussion stage," he added.
Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco are transferring their Saudi Arabia joint petrochemical venture from Ras Tanura to Al-Jubail because of an increase in costs. The project is also being downsized, with one cracker instead of two, an engineering official said.