Sector News

Aramco sets US ethylene and aromatics entry with plans to invest $8-10 billion

April 9, 2018
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Motiva Enterprises is evaluating worldscale investments in ethylene and aromatics production, marking state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco’s arrival in US petrochemicals. Initial investment estimates total $8 billion-$10 billion, Aramco says.

“These agreements signal our plans for expansion into petrochemicals,” said Brian Coffman, Motiva president and CEO. Motiva on Saturday signed an agreement to evaluate the use of TechnipFMC’s mixed-feed ethylene production technologies for a US cracker. It signed a separate agreement with Honeywell UOP to examine aromatics extraction and production technologies for benzene and paraxylene for development of a potential complex on the US Gulf Coast.

“Final investment decisions on these projects are not expected to be made until 2019 and are dependent on strong economics, competitive incentives, and regulatory support,” Motiva said. The announcement coincided with a visit to Houston by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Aramco acquired full ownership of Motiva’s 630,000 bbl/day Port Arthur, Texas refinery, the largest in the United States, last year. The Port Arthur plant had previously been part of a 50–50 joint venture between Aramco and Shell. Aramco announced plans to invest $18 billion in the United States via Motiva shortly after the deal closed last year, including an increase of refining capacity and expansion into petrochemicals.

Motiva says Port Arthur as well as other sites are under consideration. “Motiva is actively exploring a number of opportunities as part of its growth strategy,” a spokesperson says. “These opportunities include locations where we currently operate as well as new ones. No final decisions have been made to expand in Port Arthur.”

By Robert Westervelt

Source: Chemical Week

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