SABIC plans to build oil-to-chemicals complex in Saudi Arabia
oil giant Saudi Aramco and petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries Corp ( SABIC) signed a preliminary deal to build a complex to convert crude oil to chemicals.
After signing the memorandum of understanding, Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser told reporters that a final decision would be made by the end of 2019. Investment costs for the complex would be shared equally. The plant could start production in 2025.
The CEOs of both firms said they were considering locating the complex at the Red Sea port city and industrial centre of Yanbu. But Nasser said there were also other options, with factors such as proximity to markets guiding a decision.
Yousef al-Benyan, SABIC’s CEO said the two companies would examine the best technology to use, after they had been working on different technologies to convert crude to chemicals before deciding to team up.
Benyan said the project could involve two or three crackers, which are used to break heavy hydrocarbons into petrochemicals. The use of so-called flexi-crackers would enable the firms to break down a range of feeds - oil, gas or naphtha. The complex would process crude at international prices to make polyethylene, polypropylene, xylene, benzene and other products.
The Saudi project would process about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Arabian light crude oil to make about 9 million tonnes of chemicals and base oils a year, plus 200,000 bpd of diesel for domestic use. The new complex would create an estimated 30,000 jobs directly and indirectly, adding 1.5 percent to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2030.