SABIC’s creation by royal decree in September 1976 was a bold step for a developing country. It marked a move into using the by-products of oil extraction to produce value-added commodities – such as chemicals, polymers and fertilizers – for export. These commodities were also intended to create new industries, helping Saudi Arabia to diversify and to develop.
As a result, during the late 1970s and early 1980s the fishing village of Al-Jubail transformed into a modern industrial city, with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu building the infrastructure, and SABIC building the factories. Our first joint-venture plant began production in 1983, followed by several affiliated companies. We have now been through three phases of major expansion, earning us a place among the world’s fastest-growing companies.
SABIC’s emergence in the 1980s was described by industry media as “one of the most rapid and coherent industrialization developments of the 20th century”. We haven’t stopped since: in 1985 our total production was 6.3 million metric tons (mmt); by the end of 2012 it had reached 69 mmt. The SABIC2020 project, launched in 2006, clearly signifies our ambition to take a global leadership position in the field of petrochemicals.