Total, Aramco to add petchems at SATORP
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
Saudi Aramco and Total have announced plans to build a new petrochemicals complex integrated with their Saudi Arabia Total Oil Refining and Petrochemical (SATORP) joint venture facility in Jubail.

The two partners started up the refinery in 2014 with capacity of 400,000 bpd, which was expanded to capacity of 440,000 bpd as part of a three-year expanded construction programme.

The petrochemicals plant will operate downstream from the refinery and offer new product development and flexibility in petrochemicals trade in the region, with a particular focus upon the growing Asian market. It will include a world-size mixed-feed steam cracker, processing 50% ethane and refinery off-gas, with production capacity of 1.5 million tpy of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical products.

Production of more than 2.7 million tpy of high-value chemicals is anticipated once the project is operating at full capacity.

The project will require investment of around US$5 billion, and the front-end engineering and design (FEED) of the project will commence in the third quarter of 2018.

The new cracking plant will also feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants in the region, and this will represent an additional investment of US$4 billion by third-party investors.

Aramco is keen to increase its presence in the regional market for high-quality oil products and chemicals, utilising its own production sources and its trading arm Aramco Trading to maximise the value it garners from crude output.

Expansion of SATORP forms part of the kingdom’s much-vaunted Vision 2030 programme, which aims to diversify the economy, reduce dependence on crude oil production and increase participation in consumer products, create employment opportunities and improve standards of living.

The petrochemicals plant will create around 8,000 jobs and introduce higher technology standards to the energy sector and beyond. Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said that the relationship with Total had deepened over time, adding that it had “evolved from a standard buyer-seller arrangement to one imbued with common interests to further develop and diversify our businesses”.

Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total, echoed the sentiments, saying that the project “illustrates our strategy of maximising 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.”

The Total CEO added that “the project will enable us to strengthen our ties with Saudi Aramco, with whom we successfully operate our biggest and most efficient refinery in the world”. Aramco owns 62.5% in SATORP, with Total holding the remainder.

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