Saudi Aramco and Total have signed a joint development agreement in Dhahran for front-end engineering and design (FEED) of a $5bn petrochemical complex in Jubail, on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast.
The petrochemical complex, which was announced in April 2018, will be established adjacent to the Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical (SATORP) refinery, operated by Saudi Aramco (62.5%) and Total (37.5%), to exploit operational synergies.
The first petrochemical complex in the Arabian Gulf region, to be integrated with a refinery, will consist of a mixed-feed cracker (50% ethane and refinery off-gases) and has a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year of ethylene and related petrochemical units.
The project involves an investment of $5bn and is scheduled to commence operations in 2024.
Third-party investors will pump in an additional $4bn into the complex to further develop downstream industries in the kingdom so that the project can also provide feedstock to other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants in the Jubail industrial area and beyond.
The additional investment will take the overall investment in the complex to $9bn. The project is expected to create 8,000 local direct and indirect jobs.
Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said: “SATORP’s second-phase expansion represents a quantum leap in Saudi Aramco’s downstream strategy to maximize our hydrocarbon resources and help position the Kingdom as a chemicals manufacturing hub, thus supporting economic diversification.
“Today’s signing will deliver on multiple levels, from high-value fuels and petrochemical products for consumers on three continents to meaningful job creation and local content development. We’re pleased to celebrate with Total this latest milestone in the SATORP journey.”
Saudi Aramco and Total have also reaffirmed their commitment towards the joint development of fuel retail operation in Saudi Arabia.
Total chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said: “We are delighted to write a new page of our joint history by launching a new giant project, building on the successful development of SATORP, our biggest and most efficient refinery in the world.
“This world-class complex also fits with our strategy to expand in petrochemicals by maximizing the synergies within our major platforms, leveraging low-cost feedstocks and taking advantage of the fast growing Asian polymer market.”
Image: Saudi Aramco, Total launch FEED studies for $5bn petrochemical complex in Jubail. Photo: Courtesy of Saudi Arabian Oil Co.