Global petrochemical prices could rise over the next three years before the U.S. becomes the major source of shale gas for petrochemicals in 2018, said Sabic CEO Mohamed al-Mady. He said petrochemical prices this year will likely remain stable and similar to 2013 prices.
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.
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.
Plastics compose about 10% of average vehicle weight, a figure that is expected to go up, said Greg Adams, vice president at SABIC's Innovative Plastics unit. "Applications where plastics can grow are certainly going to increase as the industry transitions from the internal combustion engine to hybrid technology. Hybrid power trains with batteries offer a whole new set of components that have plastics in them. And we see that growing," Adams said.
SABIC and ExxonMobil are evaluating the possibility of a synthetic rubber plant in Saudi Arabia. "The decision will be made in July, the tenders are out but it doesn't mean that the project is on. If the prices of bids are high, we won't proceed," said SABIC CEO and Vice Chairman Mohamed Al-Mady.