Financing issues could be contributing to a weaker petrochemical market in Saudi Arabia at present, after the Kingdom’s Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company (Petro-Rabigh) reported a net loss of $335m for 2008.

Citing ‘weak’ market conditions and project delays, Petro-Rabigh, announced its results for 2008 to the Saudi Arabian stock exchange recently, reports specialist Middle Eastern news agency MEED.

The company, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, revealed it has suffered from falling demand and prices for refined products, as well as delays to the start-up of its petrochemicals operations at Rabigh on the Red Sea coast.

The latter had been slated to begin in September 2008 but this has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2009.

It is suggested that commercial operations may be delayed until late this year, due to finance complications and technical issues.

The $10bn-plus project will be one of the biggest integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in the world upon completion, and is the first of its kind in the Middle East – presently expected to produce around 2.4 million tonnes per year (tpy) of petrochemical solids and liquids.