SABIC plans to build oil-to-chem­i­cals com­plex in Saudi Ara­bia

Chemical Industry Digest - - News & Views -

State

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.

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