Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, to start work on $9bn US plant

A man walks past the headquarters of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2019

Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, to start work on $9bn US plant

  • The 50/50 joint venture with Exxon Mobil, called Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, will have the ability to produce 1.8 million metric tons a year
  • Oil producers and refiners see petrochemicals as a growing market for their crude as demand for motor fuels is expected to plateau

BENGALURU, India: Exxon Mobil Corp. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) said on Thursday they would start construction of a $9 billion petrochemical plant in the US in the third quarter that would have the world’s largest ethane processing capacity.
The 50/50 joint venture, called Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, will have the ability to produce 1.8 million metric tons a year, and will house a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units, the companies said.
The project, located north of Corpus Christi in Texas, is expected to be operational by 2022.
Building the world’s largest steam cracker on the doorstep of rapidly growing Permian production gives this project significant scale and feedstock advantages, Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said.
Oil producers and refiners see petrochemicals as a growing market for their crude as demand for motor fuels is expected to plateau with the advent of electric cars and more efficient homes and offices.
The project is expected to create more than 600 permanent jobs, the companies said, adding that the facility will produce materials used in the manufacturing of various consumer products such as automotive coolants, packaging and construction materials.


China delays timetable for Boeing 737 MAX return

Updated 15 min 1 sec ago

China delays timetable for Boeing 737 MAX return

  • The best-selling 737 MAX was grounded around the world since March 2019 after two deadly crashes blamed on the plane's new navigation system 

BEIJING: China, the first country to ground Boeing Co’s 737 MAX following two fatal crashes, has not set a timetable for the plane’s return to service, the head of its aviation regulator said on Thursday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has set three principles for the jet to return to service in China, Feng Zhenglin, director at the agency, said.

Design changes need to be certified, pilots need to receive proper training and effective improvements need to be made to address the specific findings of investigations into the crashes, Feng said.

“Based on these three principles, we have not set a timetable for Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service here. As long as these conditions are met, we’re happy to see the MAX return to service in China,” said Feng.

“But if these conditions cannot be met, we still have to carry out strict airworthiness certification in order to ensure safety.”

The 737 MAX, which has been grounded around the world since March 2019, is expected receive regulatory approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to resume flying in November.

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has not publicly disclosed a timeline for the MAX’s return of service, but sources familiar with the matter have said it is expected to lift its grounding order around mid-November, although the date could slip.

American Airlines has said that it plans to return the jet to service at the year-end, subject to FAA approval.