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Aramco Lift Ethane Prices for Petrochemical Makers

Source: Bloomberg 6/12/2011, Location: Middle East

Saudi Aramco may start charging higher prices next year for ethane gas used to produce petrochemicals, a Saudi investment bank said in a report.

Clients such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemical maker known as Sabic, might pay over the current price of $0.75 per million British Thermal Unit, or one thousand cubic feet, of ethane from 2012, said Al Rajhi Capital, the investment arm of Saudi’s largest lender by market value. The Riyadh-based bank did not say how much prices might rise.

Saudi Aramco, the sole producer of ethane in Saudi Arabia, will increase prices in response to anti-dumping concerns raised by European countries, as the local cost of ethane is lower than elsewhere, the bank said. Saudi Petrochemicals companies will probably continue to pay less than others outside the kingdom for ethane, according to the report. The average global market price for the gas is about $4.5 per million British Thermal Units, Al Rajhi Capital estimated.

A Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based spokesman said he can’t comment on ethane pricing as it is set by the ministry of petroleum and minerals. Officials from the ministry were not available immediately for comment.

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