Saudi Aramco and Total sign agreement for petrochemical complex

Complex will require a total investment of $9bn and will create 8,000 local direct and indirect jobs

Saudi Aramco and Total have signed a joint development agreement for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) or a large petrochemical complex in Jubail. The complex will require an investment of approximately $5 billion and will built next to the SATORP refinery that is jointly operated by Saudi Aramco and Total.

The agreement was signed by Amin H Nasser, president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco and Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and chief executive officer of Total in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Scheduled to begin operations in 2024, the complex will include a mixed-feed cracker (50% ethane and refinery off-gases) with a capacity of 1.5m tons per year of ethylene and other related high-added-value petrochemical units. According to a statement, the complex will be the first in the Arabian Gulf to have a mixed-feed cracker integrated with a refinery.

“The petrochemicals sector has been undergoing significant growth globally and is one of the future growth engines. Thus, SATORP’s second-phase expansion represents a significant value addition in Saudi Aramco’s downstream strategy to maximize the full value of our vast resources portfolio and position the Kingdom as a chemicals manufacturing and exports hub, supporting economic growth and diversification as part of Vision 2030,” said Nasser.

In a bid to further develop downstream industries in the Kingdom, the project will also provide feedstock for other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants located in the Jubail industrial area and beyond. This will require an additional $4bn investment by third party investors and will benefit the Saudi economy, Aramco said.

“Today’s signing with our partner Total will deliver on multiple levels, from high-value fuels and petrochemical products never manufactured in the Kingdom before, destined for consumers on three continents to meaningful job creation for Saudi men and women and local content development. Our partnership with Total has evolved from a buyer-seller relationship of crude oil to one that has progressed to a strong long-term partnership through SATORP and today we’re pleased to commemorate another major milestone as part of the SATORP journey,” Nasser added.

The complex as a whole will require an investment of approximately $9 billion and is expected to create 8,000 local direct and indirect jobs.

Pouyanné commented, “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.”

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