Aramco & Sabic Think Big With $20bn Oil-To-Chemicals Plans

Direct crude-to-petchems plans would slash processing costs. Whose technology to use?

Saudi Aramco and Sabic have signed an MoU for preliminary work on a crude oil to chemicals (COTC) project intended to process 400,000 b/d of crude to produce 9mn t/y of chemicals and base oils.

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser says the companies will go 50:50, with a final investment decision slated for end-2019 with a view to 2025 start up. The estimated cost of $20bn would make it one of the priciest infrastructure projects anywhere, ever.

The plant will be only the second worldwide, far larger than Exxon’s 1mn t/y crude-to-olefins unit at its 592,000 b/d Singapore refinery. Started in 2014, this uses a proprietary design which “can crack anything from light gases to heavy liquids, including crude oil,” the firm says.


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