Massive petrochem projects in Saudi Arabia race against time

The progress of Saudi Arabia's two most significant up-coming downstream petrochemicals projects is hindered by climbing costs and unexpected hold ups. The PetroRabigh - Sumitomo Chemicals joint venture worth US$10.1 bln and Saudi Aramco - Dow Chemical joint venture worth US$25 bln at Ras Tanura are reportedly racing against time for completion. The massive scale of these downstream projects, worldwide dearth of parts, materials, and experienced human capital are attributed for the postponement of these giant downstream petrochem projects. PetroRabigh, which in the last phases of construction is facing a hold up. The project which was initially slated to start operations by Oct 2008 is now shift its start up to beginning of 2009. For the Ras Tanura project, KBR was awarded the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract last year but now has been mitigated of 2 mln man-hours of work from its contract due to overextension. Nevertheless, Saudi projects could be regarded as secure, as financially strong and state-owned giant Saudi Aramco practically finances these large scale downstream petrochem projects.
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