KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia Saudi-based Polysilicon Technology Co (PTC) has signed a $380 million deal to build a polysilicon plant in the kingdom, it said on Sunday, as the leading oil exporter seeks to shift toward solar power.
Polysilicon is used in solar power to transform sunlight into electricity.
PTC a joint venture between Saudi Mutajadedah Energy Co (MEC) and South Korea's KCC Corp signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract with South Korea's Hyundai Engineering Co and KCC Engineering and Construction Corp.
The plant will be located in Jubail, on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia and will have an initial production capacity of 3,350 metric tons of solar grade polysilicon.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its energy resources, turning to solar and eventually nuclear to reduce its need to burn fuel oil for electricity and so preserve its oil for lucrative export markets.
The first phase of the project will be up and running by the first quarter of 2014, Ibrahim al-Humaidan, executive director of PTC told reporters.
When all three phases of the project are complete -- at a cost of around $1.2-$1.5 billion -- in 2017, its polysilicon capacity will rise to 12,000 tonnes, Humaidan added.
(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine, editing by Bernard Orr)