Ineos to spend $2 billion on three chemical plants in Saudi Arabia

Factories part of petrochemical complex by Saudi Aramco and France’s Total

Ineos has been growing with acquisitions of oil and gas fields. File photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Ineos has been growing with acquisitions of oil and gas fields. File photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

 

Ineos plans to spend $2 billion (€1.78 billion) to build three chemical plants in Saudi Arabia as the group controlled by UK billionaire Jim Ratcliffe enters the Middle East for the first time.

The factories will be part of a $5 billion petrochemical complex which state-run Saudi Aramco and France’s Total are constructing in the kingdom, Ineos said in a statement.

The British company has been growing with acquisitions of oil and gas fields and a major pipeline in the UK, chemical facilities in China, and investments in plants in Belgium and the United States.

Mr Ratcliffe (66), a former Exxon Mobil executive, built Ineos by acquiring unwanted petrochemical assets from major oil companies. The group has also dipped its toes in fashion, soccer, car-making and a cycling team over the years. With the planned Saudi investment, it’s expanding its core business of chemicals.

Oil companies are increasingly betting on petrochemicals to drive future demand growth as the world grows seeks to tackle emissions from gasoline and diesel vehicles. Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest crude producer, bought a majority stake in local chemical giant Sabic for about $69 billion this year. – Bloomberg