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Total and Saudi Aramco work on Satorp Expansion

Saudi Aramco and Total to go for Aromatics in phase 2

While the joint venture Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (Satorp) is completing the construction of the refinery as the first phase of the project to come on stream in 2013, Total and Saudi Aramco are already working on the second phase about petrochemicals in Jubail Industrial City, in Saudi Arabia.

In the Satorp joint venture, the partners share working interests:

 – Saudi Aramco 62.5%

 – Total 37.5%

Historically, most petrochemicals producers in the Middle East have focused on natural gas-based production to exploit the region’s cost-advantaged ethane.

Only Iran has followed more of a Western model of petrochemicals production by taking naphtha out of refineries.

But since the ethane availability declines in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco plans to increase its focus on petrochemicals by converting refinery products into aromatics.

As a result a new wave of aromatics investments is under discussion in Saudi Arabia.

As part of this move downstream further into petrochemicals, Saudi Arabia is building refineries with aromatics production, as well as exploring ways to add aromatics at its existing refineries.

The expansion of the $9.6 billion Satorp refinery comes into that picture.

Saudi Aramco selected the Satorp joint veture refinery with Total to build its first large-scale aromatics facility.

Then Total and Saudi Aramco are exploring ways to add downstream polyester projects and have approached potential investors for a possible purified terephthalic acid (PTA) project to take paraxylene (PX) feedstock from Satorp.

The Satorp PX project and the downstream PTA project will be Saudi Arabia‘s second production plants for each of these products after Sabic affiliate Arabian Industrial Fibers (Ibn Rushd) to have integrated PX and PTA production at its site in Yanbu.

Saudi Aramco to maximize Satorp and Sadara petrochemicals

In parallel to Satorp and within the Jubail Industrial City, Sadara, the joint venture between the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and Saudi Aramco is building a $20 billion petrochemicals complex.

Sadara is comprizing an ethane and naphtha mixed cracker and is designed to produce mostlyethylene, propylene and a long chain of olefin derivatives.

Since Satorp will provide Sadara with naphtha feedstook, Saudi Aramco is leading discussions with its both partners, Total in Satorp and Dow in Sadara, to investigate all the solutions to maximize the petrochemicals value chain from both sides, olefin and aromatics.

Total and Saudi Aramco have agreed to launch a feasibility study, but the complexity of the task is at the scale of the aggregated $30 billion Satorp-Sadara on going projects.

Satorp refinery has a capacity of 400,000 b/d crude oil, including heavy crude oil.

Satorp production should go for 72% to gasoline and diesel, the remaining 28% should be used for jet fuel and petrochemicals.

At this stage, the Satorp expansion project will have production capacities of:

 – 700,000 t/y paraxylene (PX)

 – 140,000 t/y benzene

Saudi Arabia‘s new aromatics production would be converted into high added value downstream products and performance plastics, and then to be exported. 

In combining the Satorp and Sadara projects into a super giant $30 billion petrochemicals complex, Saudi Aramco expects with the support of its partners, Total and Dow, to reach $60 billion revenues after completion and to set its global Market Leadership among the top three petrochemical companies.

For more information and data about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer

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