Saudi Aramco signs up for US firm's chemical technology

14 June 2018
Aramco might consider startup firm’s technology for its crude oil-to-chemicals project

Saudi Aramco has struck a deal with Siluria Technologies to use the US startup firm’s chemical technology for its proposed multi-billion-dollar crude oil-to-chemical (COTC) plant in the kingdom.

Saudi Aramco plans to employ the company's process for converting natural gas left over from the crude-refining process into ethylene, the primary building block for plastics, according to a joint announcement by the companies.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Siluria’s technology, known as oxidative methane coupling, is an alternative to the chemical industry’s traditional high-temperature method of processing gas, called cracking.

Aramco is said to be looking for cost-effective, yet high-yielding technologies for its $25bn COTC facility to be located in the Yanbu downstream complex.

In January, Aramco signed a three-party agreement with Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I), now part of US engineering contractor McDermott, and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG), a joint venture between CB&I and Chevron, to combine and commercialise the firms’ CTC technologies.

Aramco and the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) signed the MoU in November 2017 for the proposed project to convert the 235,000 barrels a day (b/d) Yanbu refinery into an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex.

Aramco-Sabic awarded two front-end engineering design (Feed) and project management consultancy (PMC) contracts for the project to the UK’s Wood Group in March and US firm KBR in April.

The tender for the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the megaproject is expected to be issued in June 2020, with commercial bid submissions slated to take place in September of that year.

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