Peter Cella interview: Time to harvest

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Peter Cella, president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company

Peter Cella, president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company

The easy access to competitive feedstock in Saudi Arabia has made it a global hub for the petrochemical industry. This position has attracted major international players to the region, looking for partnerships with local producers.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC (CPChem) is one such company, operating several petrochemical joint venture projects with its local partner Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG) located in Jubail industrial city, including Saudi Chevron Phillips which produces benzene and Cyclohexane, and Jubail Chevron Phillips which operates an olefins cracker that is integrated with world-scale ethyl benzene and styrene production facilities.

CPChem and an affiliate of SIIG, National Petrochemical Company, are also starting up a new facility owned by their Saudi Polymers Company (SPCo) joint venture company. “Our major project in Saudi Arabia right now is our Saudi Polymers Company project which is a 1.2 million tonne/year (t/y) ethylene cracker and a 1.1 m tonne/year of polyethylene, 400000 tonne/year of polypropylene, 200000 tonne/year of polystyrene and 100000 tonne/year of 1-hexene. That plant is mechanically complete and we are now in the process of commissioning and starting up all the units. We expect commercial production in the first quarter 2012,” Peter Cella, president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company tells Refining and Petrochemicals Middle East.

“That’s where our focus is right now, to run the plant safely and profitably,” he adds.

SPCo began construction in January 2008 and has created approximately 950 jobs, with a high percentage being occupied by Saudi nationals.

Upon the completion of the project, SPCo’s products -including olefins and alpha olefins- will be marketed through the Gulf Polymers Distribution Company. “Chevron Phillips will be the exclusive selling agent for the distribution company outside of the Gulf region, and we will market these materials to our current market in EU and Asia as well as outside the gulf region,” he adds.

The company and its local partner are boosting their investments in Saudi Arabia, and have recently launched a new project called Petrochemical Conversion Company (PCC).

“Our next tranche of investment is a nylon 6.6 project and converted products operation,” says Cella. “It is a 50/50 project and we have received the necessary approval for project execution,” he explains. “The project is expected to be completed by 2013 and will produce 50000 tonne/year of nylon, 20000 tonne/year of nylon compound and 120000 tonne/year of conversion capacity to make a whole array of downstream products such as high pressure pipes, drip irrigation systems, automotive fittings, electrical fittings.”

The total project cost is over $500 million for that investment which is a 50/50 joint venture between Chevron Phillips Chemical and Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SIIG), with current paid capital of $40 million.

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