Saudi Aramco, state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, and the Houston, Texas, offices of Dow Chemical Company are moving ahead with plans to construct a petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia. Originally planned for Ras Tanura, which is approximately 400 kms northwest of Riyad, Saudi Aramco and Dow decided to move the project to Al-Jubail for financial reasons. The new site, about 30 kms north of Ras Tanura, is far more developed because of the site's close proximity to Al Jubail Industrial City, which was established in 1975.
Dow and Saudi Aramco, signed a memorandum of understanding in May of 2007, and originally planned to feature two naphtha crackers to be designed by Technip (Paris, France) at the ethylene-based complex, but the idea was deemed overly ambitious, and one of the crackers was scrapped. Nevertheless, development of the Al-Jubail Petrochemical Complex is still on track. Dow and Saudi Aramco have signed contracts with other engineering firms to be involved in the project. In July of 2007, the two companies selected KBR Incorporated as the project management contractor, while earlier this year, the Houston, Texas, office of Jacobs Engineering Group Incorporated was selected to provide Saudi Aramco with program management services for several onshore projects, including the US$7 bln-plus Al-Jubail Petrochemical Complex.
The complex, which will be located in the Al-Jubail Industrial Zone, is not scheduled to begin construction until June 2012, and will be centered around an ethylene facility that will be capable of producing 1.3 mln tpa of ethylene and 400,000 tpa of propylene. The ethylene and propylene will serve as feedstock for multiple downstream lines. The largest of these include polyethylene and polypropylene production units, and an ethylene glycol line, as well as an aniline line and a purified terephthalic acid unit. When completed in 2015, the Al-Jubail complex is expected to produce almost 8 million metric tpa of petrochemicals.