The next step on the cracker project will be the release of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) package to international contractors, which is expected within weeks. UK-based Foster Wheeler Energy, which was appointed as project management services (PMS) contractor on the Rabigh programme in May, will carry out the FEED portion on all other elements of the project, including several ethylene-based downstream units.

Aramco and Sumitomo, which are still working on a 12-month feasibility study for the Rabigh complex, have decided to go ahead with the scheme on a fast-track basis. Both companies signed a memorandum of understanding to carry out the project earlier this year (MEED 14:5:04).

In addition to building a petrochemical complex, Aramco plans to raise refining capacity by 80,000 barrels a day (b/d) and build a 400-MW captive power plant (MEED 15:10:04).

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

Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)is acting as the financial adviser on the Rabigh programme.