Sector News

Total, Aramco confirm $5-billion expansion of Saudi JV to include a cracker

April 10, 2018
Chemical Value Chain

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

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