Saudi Aramco and Total have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a world-scale petrochemical complex at Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The complex, located in the same industrial area as the companies’ Satorp joint venture, will be integrated downstream of the Satorp refinery. Aramco has 62.5% of Satorp and Total has 37.5%. The move is designed to exploit fully operational synergies.
The project will represent an investment of about $5 billion. The two partners are planning to start front-end engineering and design (FEED) in the third quarter of 2018.
The newly announced complex will comprise a mixed-feed cracker consuming 50% ethane and 50% refinery off-gas, with capacity for 1.5 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) of ethylene. The cracker will feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants representing an overall $4-billion investment by third-party investors.
The overall $9-billion project will create 8,000 local direct and indirect jobs. The project will produce more than 2.7 MMt/y of “high-value” chemicals, the companies say.
“This project illustrates our strategy of maximizing the integration of our large refining and petrochemical platforms and of expanding our petrochemical operations from low-cost feedstock, to take advantage of the fast-growing Asian polymer market,” says Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total. “[I]t will contribute to the Vision 2030 of [Saudi Arabia] by creating 8,000 jobs and bringing in new high-added-value technologies.”
The MOU was signed Tuesday during an official visit by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, to Paris.
Satorp’s refining capacity has increased from 400,000 b/d at its start-up in 2014 to 440,000 b/d today, and it is recognized as one of the most efficient refineries in the world, Aramco says. Satorp also produces aromatics at the refinery.
By Francinia Protti-Alvarez
Source: Chemical Week
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?