Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and Korean petrochemical company SK Global Chemical are forming a US$595 million, 50-50 joint venture agreement to manufacture a range of high-performance PE products using SK Global’s Nexlene metallocene linear low density PE technology.
The joint venture, which is located in Singapore, is expected to operate a series of manufacturing plants, the first of which was recently completed by SK Global at its complex in Ulsan, South Korea, with an expected annual capacity of 230,000 tons. A second plant is planned for Saudi Arabia. Over time, production bases will be established worldwide.
“The plants will produce metallocene linear low density PE, polyolefin plastomers and polyolefin elastomers that will meet the growing needs of diverse industries such as advanced packaging, automotive, healthcare, footwear, and electrical and lighting,” SABIC said in a statement. “This technology will benefit both converters and end customers through better performance, processibility, and final product properties.”
The companies said they will be looking at markets such as packaging, footwear, pipe and wire coatings, and consumer goods made from rotational molding.
“Nexlene will serve as a growth engine for both of our companies,” said Cha Hwa Youp, SK Global’s CEO. “The joint venture will continue to upgrade Nexlene technology and set up production bases at locations that exhibit competiveness in the high-end PE industry.”
The joint venture marks the second time that SABIC has invested in manufacturing capability in the Far East; the first was its partnership with the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec).
South Korea-based SK Global is described by SABIC as a “pioneering petrochemical company”, and was the first in the country to build a naphtha cracking facility, in 1972.