Saudi state petrochems firm Sabic on 14 October signed a non-binding MoU with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Russia’s ESN Group to explore options for building and operating a 2mn t/y methanol plant in Russia’s southeastern Amur region – one of a slew of deals signed during this week’s Gulf tour by Russian President Vladimir Putin (MEES, 18 October). Sabic announced on the Saudi Stock Exchange on 15 October that the MoU is part of its strategy to diversify its operations, seek new investment opportunities and strengthen its position in the global market.

Although Riyadh has decided that state petroleum firm Aramco is to buy out its 70% stake in Sabic for $69.1bn, Sabic chief executive Yousef al-Benyan maintains the firm will continue to focus on its own strategy to become the world’s “preferred” petchems producer (MEES, 3 May). Riyadh’s keenness for Sabic to be under Aramco’s control is suggested by the recent appointment of Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the PIF sovereign wealth fund, as chairman of Aramco in place of former energy minister Khalid al-Falih (MEES, 13 September). (CONTINUED - 180 WORDS)