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The current ramping up of throughput at the Satorp refinery in Jubail brings Saudi Arabia’s first production of paraxylene. The paraxylene unit, which will produce 700,000 tons/year of this petrochemical ‘building block’, marks a milestone in a major transformation of the Saudi downstream petroleum industry.
While Satorp’s paraxylene will initially be exported, state petroleum giant Saudi Aramco is pushing a major economic development program that will increasingly see aromatics and other primary petrochemicals used to create high value plastics and chemicals for processing by local manufacturers.
Two Aramco joint venture refineries – Satorp with France’s Total and Yasref in Yanbu’ with China’s Sinopec – plus Aramco’s own Jazan project, all with 400,000 b/d crude distillation capacity, will deliver 2.2mn t/y of paraxylene, benzene and propylene when they are completed.
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