UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia's SABIC sets sights on U.S. shale gas boom

Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:48am EST

JUBAIL Saudi Arabia Nov 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is considering investing in the United States to capitalise on the shale gas boom there, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

SABIC and other petrochemical producers in Saudi Arabia have been looking for additional gas supplies to fuel their expansion plans, with SABIC now casting its gaze overseas.

"We have to participate in the shale gas business and we have to participate in other sources that can also be competitive," said CEO Mohamed al-Mady, who expects a short-term slowdown in the growth of the sector in Saudi Arabia.

"We can look for investment, we can look for joint ventures."

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil exporter, is focusing on boosting gas production to help it to meet rapidly rising Saudi fuel demand, primarily for power and desalination plants.

Mady said that SABIC will continue to plan new projects in Saudi Arabia, such as a polyacetal (POM) plastic facility in Jubail and synthetic glass (PMMA/MMA) and carbon-fibre projects in Yanbu.

"I think in the future you will see more investment in gas exploration and more investment in technology," he said.

"We have many intermediate projects coming with the Japanese, with others."

The company has given the go-ahead for the polyacetal plant and is close to reaching final investment decisions on the carbon fibre and synthetic glass projects, Mady added.

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