ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) have signed an agreement to carry out a detailed study of the proposed jointly-owned petrochemical complex in Texas, US.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz and US President Donald Trump. It marks the next phase of the petrochemical project, dubbed the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures.

Also part of the deal is to initiate the planning process for front-end engineering and design work of the project apart from various other technical and commercial aspects.

ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia president, chairman and CEO Philippe Ducom said: “This agreement represents an important step in the progression of the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project.

“We have a long and successful relationship with SABIC, which will be enhanced by this potential project that will create value for our companies and our communities.”

Last month, ExxonMobil and SABIC had selected a location in the San Patricio County for the proposed petrochemical complex.

Located in an area abundant in natural gas liquids feedstock, the 1300-acre site is believed to have all the necessary infrastructure for the project’s operation.

Part of ExxonMobil’s $20bn Growing the Gulf investment program, the proposed project would feature an ethane steam cracker with an annual production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes of ethylene. Depending on the results of the ongoing studies, the produced ethylene will be fed to a monoethylene glycol unit and a couple of polyethylene units.

SABIC vice chairman and CEO Yousef Al-Benyan said: “It marks a new opportunity for the two companies to continue our historic collaboration, which goes back to 35 years, and builds on our long-term relationship.

“We hope this potential first-ever joint venture with ExxonMobil in the US will lead to additional promising projects that meet the aspirations of the leadership and peoples of Saudi Arabia and the US.”

The partners are to make a final decision on the petrochemical project anytime next year.

Image: Sabic and ExxonMobil will develop a new petrochemical project in Texas. Photo: courtesy of SABIC.