Much like its first refinery and petrochemicals integration project at Rabigh, Aramco is looking for a foreign investor to take a minority stake in the project company to oversee the project. ‘We are not looking to find a partner from any one particular region,’ said Shalabi. ‘Any company is welcome to participate.’

The estimated $6,000 million Ras Tanura scheme will involve an upgrade of the existing refinery and its integration with a new petrochemicals complex. Proposed units include an ethane/naphtha steam cracker to produce 1.2 million tonnes a year (t/y) of ethylene and 400,000 t/y of propylene, an aromatics complex to produce 400,000 t/y of benzene and 460,000 t/y of paraxylene and a speciality mix of purefied terephthalic acid (PTA), polyethylene teraphthalate resins (PET), toluene di-osocyanate (TDI) or methyl diphenyl di-isocyanate (MDI), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) or acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, and acrylonitrile (ACN).

Tenders for the scheme’s front-end engineering and design (FEED) are expected to be issued soon. Projected start-up is set for 2010.

Aramco is also planning a third integration project at Yanbu. Projected to come on stream in 2012, the scheme will entail upgrading the 235,000-barrel-a-day refinery, in addition to building a steam cracker and aromatics complex. As with Ras Tanura, the company is looking to develop a diverse mix of petrochemical products.