Saudi's SABIC signs deal to use U.S. shale gas at British plant

By Reuters

Apr 19, 2015 06:57 PM EDT

Saudi Basic Industries Corp 2010.SE has signed a deal to use shale gas from the United States at its Teesside petrochemical plant in Britain, acting chief executive Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan told Reuters on Sunday.

"In fact we did sign the contract - we have not yet agreed with the supplier to publicly announce it, but we did firm up a contract for gas supply," Benyan said, declining to name the supplier.

He said the timing and other details of the project, which he described as the first use of shale gas exported from the U.S. Gulf in Britain, should be available by next quarter.

"It is going to meet our full demand for the next ten years and is renewable beyond ten years," Benyan said.

SABIC has previously said scarce gas supplies at home have forced it to look at investment opportunities abroad. Last year, the company said it planned to upgrade its Teesside cracker to capitalize on shale gas opportunities in the United States.

Benyan also said on Sunday that SABIC was still considering a proposal to build a plant able to turn crude oil directly into chemicals, without first having to refine the oil. The proposal was originally announced by oil minister Ali al-Naimi early last year.

Asked if talks had been held with companies to develop the project, Benyan said that ideally SABIC would like to do the project by itself, and that any partner would need to make an important contribution and help to spread risks.

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