Saudi Arabia’s ethylene capacity is forecast to almost double the level achieved in 2008 by end-2013 to18.2 million tpa. The capacity projections are based on currently planned projects, few of which may not be realized due to the restriction on ethane feedstock and a possible downturn in the Chinese market at a time of rising Chinese capacities.
The proposed Ras Tanura complex, with a 1.5 mln tpa ethylene cracker is scheduled to come onstream before 2014. Commissioning of Petro Rabigh complex has been advanced from Q4-2008 to Q2-2009. But this will also result in a US$300 mln rise in price of the complex to US$10.3 bln.
Saudi Aramco and Total indicated in November 2008, about delays in the bidding process for the Jubail Refining and Petrochemical complex until February 2009, for which it will award contracts for Q2-2009.
Unfortunately, the integrated nature of the mega projects under development ensures that any delay further up the supply chain causes delays in downstream development. Hence delay in the Petro Rabigh complex has led to a delay in the commissioning of polymer plants with capacities of 300,000 tpa PE plants and 700,000 tpa PP.