Saudi Aramco and Total sign MoU to build a giant petrochemical complex

Big ticket deal between Saudi Arabian and French oil giants requires $9bn full investment.

The new complex will be located in Jubail close to the SATORP refinery which has been in operation since 2014.
The new complex will be located in Jubail close to the SATORP refinery which has been in operation since 2014.

During the official visit to Paris by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Aramco and Total signed a memorandum of understanding to build a giant petrochemical complex in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

The complex will be integrated downstream of the SATORP refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, which owns a 62.5% holding, and Total, with 37.5%, in Jubail, in a move designed to fully exploit operational synergies. The SATORP refinery commenced production with a capacity of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) at its start-up in 2014 and this has increased to 440,000 (bpd) today.

Located next to the SATORP refinery in the same industrial area, the complex will comprise a world-size mixed-feed steam cracker, 50% ethane and refinery off-gas, with a capacity of 1.5mn tonnes per year of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical units. The project will represent an investment of around $5bn. The two partners are planning to start the front-end engineering and design in the third quarter of 2018.

The cracker will feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants, representing an overall $4bn investment by third party investors.

In total, $9bn will be invested, creating 8,000 local, direct and indirect, jobs. The project will produce more than 2.7mn metric tonnes of high value chemicals.

“The agreement deepens the exemplary relationship enjoyed by our two companies over many decades. It is one that has evolved from a standard buyer-seller arrangement to one imbued with common interests to further develop and diversify our businesses,“ commented Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco.

“Our joint venture SATORP is a remarkably successful model of industry partnership and we are keen to build on this success to further underpin Saudi Aramco’s strategy to expand its capacity in the chemicals sector by 2030.”

 “This project illustrates our strategy of maximising 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," commented Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total.

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