Aramco outlines Rabigh plans, sets ambitious schedule

25 June 2004
Saudi Aramcois planning an independent power project (IPP) at Rabigh, as part of the estimated $4,300 million programme to develop the kingdom's biggest refinery into a worldscale integrated refining and petrochemicals complex. Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Companyin May signed a memorandum of understanding with Aramco to act as the 50:50 joint venture partner on the Rabigh development (MEED 11:6:04).

'Cogeneration facilities will be needed and there will be a power plant on an IPP basis,' Fayez al-Sharef, manager for new business development at Aramco, told the MEED Gulf Petrochemicals conference on 9 June. 'It will be an IPP because power is not a core business for either Aramco or Sumitomo.'

Aramco has still to determine the specifications and contractual terms for the cogeneration facilities. In December, it signed the key project agreements with a consortium comprising the UK's International Powerand Saudi Ogerto build four IPPs with total capacity of 1,063 MW.

Aramco and Sumitomo have already started work on a joint feasibility study on the Rabigh complex. Work on the front-end engineering and design (FEED) portion is being carried out by UK-based Foster Wheeler Energy, which has been appointed project management services contractor on the programme. According to Al-Sharef, the FEED and the feasibility study, due to take about 12 months, will be immediately followed by a tender for the project's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) portion.

'Similar projects in other countries have been carried out over much longer periods of time,' said Al-Sharef. 'We plan to do it all in one shot under a continuous process by 2008.'

Aramco will provide 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) of crude oil, 95 million cubic feet a day of ethane and up to 15,000 b/d of butane as feedstock to the expanded complex. The ethane will be pumped in through a new pipeline to be built between Rabigh and Yanbu.

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