Saudi Arabia’s successful development of a major domestic petrochemicals industry has left the kingdom with a massive appetite for ethane and methane. With Riyadh also seeking to displace liquid fuels from its power generation sector (MEES, 22 November), the kingdom is struggling to keep up with demand.

The bulk of Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals sector is based on ethane feedstock. State petchems giant Sabic – and its Saudi-based affiliates – operate ethane crackers with a combined capacity of 1.2bn cfd. The problem is, this is some 20% more than the 1.0bn cfd of ethane that Saudi Aramco produced in 2018, and so Sabic uses a mix of less efficient substitute feedstocks – propane, butane and naphtha. (CONTINUED - 843 WORDS)