Sector News

Total revives plans to expand petchems operations in Saudi Arabia

October 14, 2015

Total and its partner Saudi Aramco are interested in expanding their Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical (Satorp) joint venture at Al Jubail.

Jean-Jacques Mosconi, senior v.p./refining and petrochemicals for Mideast and Asia, says, “Total remains interested in petrochemicals expansion at the Satorp complex but, to launch the front-end engineering design study, we need gas allocations and we are working on that.” This is a revival of a plan, which Total has been pursuing for the Satorp jv for some time. Aramco has 62.5% and Total 37.5% in Satorp. The plans would involve construction of an ethylene complex and include production of linear alpha olefins, poly alpha olefins and elastomers.

Satorp operates a 400,000-bbl/day export refinery and aromatics complex. The aromatics complex is designed to produce 700,000 m.t./year of para-xylene and 140,000 m.t./year of benzene. The refinery also produces 200,000 m.t./year of polymer-grade propylene, part of which is supplied to Advanced Petrochemical Co. to produce polypropylene.

Five years ago Total and Aramco said they were in discussions to build a multi-billion dollar cracker project at Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Feedstock constraints have hindered development of the project then. However, Aramco is on a mission to become a leading energy and chemicals producer under the so-called ATP strategy. The company, in addition to Satorp, is a jv partner in Sadara with Dow Chemical and in Petro Rabigh, an alliance with Sumitomo Chemical, both undergoing massive expansions. Aramco has also acquired a 50% stake in Lanxess’s synthetic rubber business, increased its stake in S-Oil, a major refiner and aromatics producer in South Korea, and has a major presence in petchems in China. It is also developing a process to produce chemicals directly from crude oil. In addition, Aramco is early stages of a $20-billion refinery and petchems project at Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, senior E&C sources tell CW.

By Natasha Alperowicz

Source: Chemical Week

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