DHAHRAN, 17 December – The Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) and the French energy giant TotalEnergies have announced the decision to build a world-scale petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia. The project involves an investment of about $11 billion.
The “Amiral” complex will be owned, operated, and integrated with the existing SATORP refinery located in Jubail on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast. The investment decision is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
The petrochemical facility will enable SATORP to convert internally produced refinery off-gases and naphtha, as well as ethane and natural gasoline supplied by Aramco, into higher-value chemicals, helping to advance Aramco’s liquids-to-chemicals strategy.
The complex will be comprised of a mixed feed cracker capable of producing 1.65 million tons per annum of ethylene, the first in the region to be integrated with a refinery. It will also include two state-of-the-art polyethylene units using Advanced Dual Loop technology, a butadiene extraction unit, and associated derivatives units.
The project alone represents an investment of around $11 billion, of which $4 billion will be funded through equity by Aramco (62.5%) and TotalEnergies (37.5%). Its construction is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2023 with commercial operation targeted to start in 2027.
Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser said: “Our long-standing relationship with TotalEnergies has been further strengthened by this important project, which represents an opportunity for us to showcase the potential for cutting-edge liquids to chemicals technologies that support the circular economy. With this collaboration we aim to expand the value chain by producing advanced chemicals more efficiently than ever before, accelerating industrial progress in the Kingdom.”
TotalEnergies Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said: “We are delighted to write a new page of our joint history by launching this expansion project, building on the successful development of SATORP, our biggest and most efficient refining and petrochemicals platform in the world. It also deepens the exemplary relationship between our two companies over many decades in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This world-class complex also fits with our strategy to expand sustainably in petrochemicals by maximizing the synergies within our major platforms.”
Eventually, the complex will provide feedstock to other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants, located in the Jubail industrial area, which will be built, owned and operated by globally renowned downstream investors, entailing an estimated additional $4 billion of investments. This will support the establishment of key manufacturing industries such as carbon fibers, lubes, drilling fluids, detergents, food additives, automotive parts and tires.
The overall complex, including adjacent facilities, is expected to create 7,000 local direct and indirect jobs.
In July 2022, SATORP was the first MENA refinery to be certified ISCC+, an international recognition of its circular initiatives, such as the recycling of plastic and used cooking oil. A first batch of recycled plastic was processed by the refinery in November 2022. — SPA