The Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (Sagia) has signed an agreement that will lead to the establishment of a $200m facility in the kingdom that will use a patented fermentation process to convert natural gas into high-protein livestock feed.

The facility will use natural gas as a feedstock to produce “high-quality protein supplements to feed fish, poultry and livestock” enabling the decoupling of protein production from farming and fishing.

The partner for the project is Denmark-based biotechnology firm Unibio, along with its local affiliate Edhafat, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The project is seen as a valuable opportunity for technology and knowledge transfer in Saudi Arabia’s chemicals sector, in addition to promoting food security, since the facility will use natural gas, an abundant resource in the kingdom.

“By using natural gas, cost-effective electricity and chemicals, proteins can be produced without adding stress to the agricultural system or fish stock,” Sagia said.

The chemicals sector is an essential component of the kingdom’s economic diversification programme. Vision 2030 aims to double the sector’s contribution to the overall economy.

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