Front Page

Dr Al-Faqeer ... the chemical industry has plenty of room for growth

Dr Al-Faqeer ... the chemical industry has plenty of room for growth

Sadara to create new value chains


Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and DowDupont, which created the world’s largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase, is uniquely positioned to contribute to the move downstream by Saudi Arabia and its economic diversification, says its CEO Dr Faisal Al-Faqeer.

Sadara will create brand-new value chains downstream and help transform the industrial landscape of the kingdom and the wider Gulf region, says Dr Al-Faqeer in an exclusive interview with OGN.

Sadara, a game changer in the chemical industry, has 26 world-scale manufacturing facilities, of which 14 are producing chemicals never before produced in Saudi Arabia. This is achieved by using best-in-class technologies to crack not only gas feedstock – ethane – but also liquid feedstock – naphtha – to create a differentiated slate of high-value added plastics and chemical products, he says.

'These new value chains include products that will enable local manufacturers in Saudi Arabia to manufacture what is only currently available through import. In the polyethylene envelope, for example, Sadara is able to bring to the market speciality grades of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and Solution Elastomers, enabling a wide range of speciality end-use plastic films, containers, artificial turf and fabrics,' he says.

Additionally, in the liquid chemicals envelope, Sadara is able to produce such new products as amines, propylene glycol, butyl glycol ethers, TDI, PMDI and polyols, which will enable the paints and coatings, personal care products, foam and moldings industries, among others, to flourish in kingdom.

As many of the products in the Sadara portfolio have never been produced in the kingdom before, their local introduction will not only reduce the country’s reliance on imports, but will also establish a competitive platform to enable the development of a strong downstream manufacturing industry within Saudi Arabia.

Dr Al-Faqeer says less than 1 per cent of the chemicals produced in the GCC region are considered speciality chemicals, with the remainder falling into the commodities category. Furthermore, most of the products that have a growing demand in the region – due to steady growth of the region’s middle class – are products based on speciality chemicals.

This means that Sadara is well positioned to capture the upside value in the growing speciality market, but this value can also be maximised at the GDP level if it is integrated with downstream manufacturing that will ensure that finished products are produced locally by a well-trained national workforce. 'Sadara knows that our competition never rests. However, we firmly believe that the chemical industry has plenty of room for growth, and we plan to be a significant part of that growth,' says Dr Al-Faqeer.

Referring to Sadara’s markets, he says: 'Sadara is primarily focused on the growth markets of Africa and Asia. However, our unique location allows us to tap into the established markets in Europe and the Americas.'

'That said, we are also very focused on growing the local downstream manufacturing market. To realise the most benefit from the new value chains Sadara is introducing, we have been collaborating with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) to attract local, regional and international investors to PlasChem Park, a unique initiative that will help accelerate the drive to create more value downstream.'

As the local downstream manufacturing industry develops, the kingdom will see a definite benefit, as its reliance on imports will be reduced.

Full interview on Pages 6, 8, 9 and 10.

By K S Sreekumar

More Stories