Aramco Collaborates on Crude-to-Chemicals
Saudi Aramco Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of oil and gas group Saudi Aramco, has signed a joint agreement with US engineering companies CB&I and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) to scale up and commercialize its thermal crude-to-chemicals (TC2C) technology.
Describing the deal as a “technological first”, Aramco’s president and CEO, Amin Nasser, said: “Saudi Aramco is going beyond the quick wins and is instead prioritizing investments in groundbreaking R&D and technology.”
Aramco said the technology has been pioneered at its R&D center over the past few years in order to enable a higher chemicals yield than that previously achievable. The company noted that the process bypasses conventional refining steps by employing a proprietary direct conversion progress.
Leon de Bruyn, managing director of CLG, added that his company’s hydroprocessing technologies together with CB&I’s ethylene cracker technology and Aramco’s proprietary TC2C process will provide a strong foundation for the joint development.
Aramco is already developing a $20 billion crude-to-chemicals complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, which will process 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil. Downstream, the complex will produce about 9 million t/y of chemicals, plastics and base oils, including PE, PP, butadiene, aromatics and other products as well as 200,000 barrels per day of diesel for domestic use. Sabic is considering building three steam crackers at the complex, each one dedicated to naphtha, fuel oil and natural gas liquids feedstock. Olefin and aromatic units will be integrated around the crackers.
A final investment decision on the project is expected to be made by the end of 2019. The complex is anticipated to start up in 2025.