Aramco, Sumitomo to expand Rabigh petrochemicals

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 20 -- Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co. have signed a memorandum of understanding for phase two development of their $10.3 billion Petro Rabigh petrochemical joint venture.

The two firms signed the MOU to carry out a feasibility study to assess investments needed to expand Petro Rabigh's existing ethane cracker for an additional 30 MMscfd of feedstock ethane, to build a new aromatics complex using about 3 million tons/year of naptha, and to construct other petrochemical units.

The study is to be completed by September 2010, while the new facilities are scheduled to start operating in the July-September quarter of 2014, if found feasible. The two firms are considering producing high-performance resins for autoparts, acrylic resins for LCDs, and about 10 other products at the new site.

The two companies' joint Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Co. began full-scale operations on Apr. 8, producing polyethylene and four other general-purpose resins for China and other Asian markets.

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