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With only two units of the Rabigh-2 petchems expansion project remaining to be fully tested, Saudi Aramco is gearing up to supply a wide range of feedstocks to firms manufacturing globally in-demand products within Saudi Arabia, at industrial parks alongside its two giant petchems plants.
After Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falid recently admitted that delays to Rabigh-2 meant its start-up schedule slid into 2018 ( MEES, 5 January ), operator Petro Rabigh – a JV of Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo, with 25% of equity traded on the Tadawul exchange – announced this week that 10 out of 12 units have “achieved on-spec production.”
The ‘on-spec’ units include those producing phenol, polymethyl methacrylate, low density polyethylene, Nylon-6 and thermoplastic olefins. The two remaining units, producing aromatics (paraxylene and benzene) and ethylene propylene rubber, will start up by March, Petro Rabigh says. A separate plant with capacity to produce 420,000 t/y of gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), built as part of the expansion, has also been tested.
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