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By Frank Esposito, Plastic News
April 10, 2018

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Materials maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) plans to open a new headquarters in Houston.

Officials with the Riyadh-based firm announced the project in Houston April 7 as part of a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bin Salman also serves as deputy prime minister of the Council of Ministers and minister of defense for Saudi Arabia. Sabic is 70 percent owned by the Saudi government.

In a news release, officials said that Sabic “has designated the United States as a focus of its future growth plans, capitalizing on the abundance of shale gas, the company’s focus on innovation, and the strength of its business relationships.”

“In our view, we envision that our U.S. activities and our diverse business portfolio globally, coupled with our drive to develop downstream industries at home, will make Sabic a key enabler in the achievement of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objectives,” Sabic Chairman Abdulaziz Saleh Aljarbou said at the event.

Officials added that the abundance of shale gas in the U.S. presents an opportunity for the company to diversify feedstocks and create new revenue streams. Sabic already is working with ExxonMobil Chemical on a massive petrochemicals site near Corpus Christi, Texas.

The April 7 event also was attended by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who said that the U.S. has discussed “deepening our energy ties and increasing the security and diversity of our energy supplies” with Saudi officials.

Sabic has operated in the U.S. since 1987 and opened a technology center in Houston in 2000. The firm also became a major producer of polycarbonate and engineering resins both in the region and worldwide when it acquired GE Plastics in 2006.

In 2016, Sabic closed GE Plastics’ longtime headquarters in Pittsfield, Mass.

Globally, Sabic is a major supplier of polyethylene and other commodity resins.

In 2017, Sabic posted sales of almost $40 billion. The firm employs more than 34,000 worldwide.

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