State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco and French oil company Total have signed a contract to start engineering studies for a planned $5bn (SAR18.8bn) petrochemicals complex in Jubail.
According to a statement, the companies signed a joint front-end engineering and design (feed) agreement on 8 October for the complex, which is an integrated, downstream part of the Satorp refinery – a joint venture operated 67.5% by Dhahran-headquartered Aramco and 37.5% by Total.
The news comes six months after Aramco announced that feed works would commence in Q3 this year. Aramco said that the first complex in the Gulf to be integrated with a refinery, the project is scheduled to start-up in 2024, Aramco said in its statement.
The oil giant added the project would also provide feedstock for other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants located in the Jubail industrial area and beyond.
It is also expected to create 8,000 local direct and indirect jobs.
Speaking on the news, Amin H Nasser, chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco said: “Satorp’s second-phase expansion represents a significant value addition in Saudi Aramco’s downstream strategy to maximise the full value of our vast resources portfolio.
“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 journey.”
Patrick Pouyanné, chief executive officer and chairman of Total, added: “This world-class complex also fits with our strategy to expand in petrochemicals by maximising the synergies within our major platforms, leveraging low-cost feedstocks, and taking advantage of the fast-growing Asian polymer market.”
The news just days after the kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said an Aramco initial public offering (IPO) would take place by 2021, as reported by Bloomberg. Billed as the largest in the world, the move will end years of speculation regarding Aramco’s listing.