Saudi petchems producers increased profits in Q1 on the back of rising crude prices. Sipchem/Sahara merger talks are back on, with Sipchem eying US shale.

Saudi petrochemical producers are benefitting from rising crude oil prices. The 14 petchems firms listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) saw their combined net profits amount to SR8.50bn ($2.27bn) in 1Q 2018, up 17.9% from 1Q17.

Yet the profits hike fell short of the corresponding rise in benchmark crude oil prices, to which most...