Saudis mulling Ras Tanura, Yanbu petchem projects

07 February 2006 20:21  [Source: ICIS news]

A Saudi Arabia Fertilizer Company plantHOUSTON (ICIS news)--Saudi Arabia is considering building petrochemical complexes at Ras Tanura and Yanbu, energy minister Ali al-Naimi said on Tuesday.

Al-Naimi told a Cambridge Energy Research Associates meeting the projects would be linked to a program to increase worldwide Saudi refining capacity refinery nearly 50% to 6m bbl/day over the next five years. He did not disclose the nature of the petrochemical plants.

“We are planning to build two new grassroots joint venture export refineries - one in Jubail on the Kingdom’s east coast and the other in Yanbu on the west coast. Each of these facilities will have a 400,000 bbl/day capacity. We will also be expanding our [325,000 bbl/day] Ras Tanura refinery and studying the possibility of transforming it into an integrated refining and petrochemical complex,” he said in prepared remarks.

Al-Naimi noted that Saudi Aramco has a similar expansion under way at its 400,000 bbl/day Rabigh refinery on the west coast, in partnership with Sumitomo Chemical in a $9bn (Euro7.5bn) program to build one of the world’s largest refining and petrochemical complexes. Upon completion in 2008, that refinery’s products will meet European and US market specifications.

He said Saudi Aramco is upgrading its 170,000 bbl/day Yanbu refinery to increase its complexity and boost capacity by 100,000 bbl/day. “As is the case with other refineries, we are also looking at petrochemical integration plans for that site,” al-Naimi said.

He said in the US, Motiva (a Shell-Saudi Refining venture) is considering expanding one of its Gulf Coast refineries by up to 300,000 bbl/day.

Al-Naimi said petrochemical facilities are being added to a refinery in China’s Fujian Province. Owners are Saudi Aramco 25%, ExxonMobil 25% and Sinopec 50%. He said grassroots refineries also are under consideration for Qingdao, in China’s Shandong Province, and in South Korea.

By: Patrick Crow
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