Saudi Aramco plans to ink a deal with Sumitomo Chemical Co. for expansion at PetroRabigh. The Saudi major plans to develop Phase 2 of its refinery and chemicals complex in the port city of Rabigh on the Red Sea. To implement the project's first phase, Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical formed the joint venture Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical (Petro Rabigh).
Petro Rabigh plans to conduct a feasibility study to identify investment outlay, output, and other details for the second phase recently approved by the Saudi government. Construction could commence by the end of the year for the complex estimated to come on stream in 2013-14. By the time the plant comes up, it is anticipated that the ongoing slump would be over and petrochemical demand will recover, increasing over the long term in emerging markets. The complex will also cater to serve the markets of India, China and Europe with value-added products.
Petro Rabigh will independently operate the complex, while Sumitomo Chemical will be responsible for the sale of produced petrochemical derivatives. The first phase of the project involved upgrading the 400,000 bpd Rabigh refinery to produce higher-quality products, including petrochemical units to produce 900,000 tpa of polyethylene, 700,000 tpa of polypropylene, 600,000 tpa of monoethylene glycol, and 200,000 tpa of propylene oxide.