Technology award due for Rabigh cracker

22 October 2004
US-based Shaw Internationalis understood to have been selected by Saudi Aramco and its50:50 joint venture partner Sumitomo Chemical Companyof Japan to provide ethylene technology for the cracker to be built at the planned Rabigh petrochemicals complex. Shaw, formerly known as Stone & Webster, will also carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) on the 1.3 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethane cracker. The project is part of the estimated $4,300 million scheme to turn the kingdom's biggest refinery at Rabigh into a worldscale integrated refining and petrochemical complex.

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.

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