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Saudi Aramco and SABIC to develop crude oil to chemicals complex

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Saudi Aramco and SABIC have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop a fully integrated crude oil to chemicals (COTC) complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The MoU governs the execution of the front end engineering design (FEED) before a final investment decision is made.

The COTC complex is expected to process 400 000 bpd of crude oil, which will produce approximately 9 million t of chemicals and base oils annually and is expected to start operations in 2025.

This announcement marks a historic alliance between the two largest Saudi global entities, in addition to solidifying the Kingdom’s position as a global leader in chemicals by substantially increasing production and further maximising value across the entire hydrocarbons chain through integration. The complex will be constructed based on an innovative configuration that achieves crude oil to chemicals conversion that is unprecedented in the industry.

This MoU follows the Heads of Agreement (HoA) that was signed in June 2016 and governed the feasibility study for the development of a fully integrated petrochemicals complex in the Kingdom. A Saudi team developed innovative COTC configurations derived from best-in-class refining and chemical technologies.

The complex is expected to create an estimated 30 000 direct and indirect jobs, further stimulating the Kingdom’s economic diversification. By 2030 the COTC complex is expected to have 1.5% impact on the Kingdom’s GDP, with investments being shared equally by both companies.

Consistent with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic transformation program, this project will support the creation of a leading downstream sector in Saudi Arabia, built on four key drivers: maximising value from the Kingdom’s crude oil production via integration across the hydrocarbon chain; enabling the creation of conversion industries to produce semi-finished and finished goods to help diversify the economy; developing advanced technologies and innovation; and enabling sustainable development in alignment with the Kingdom’s National Transformation Program.

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