Sumitomo, Saudi Aramco plan $7-bn petrochem expansion

Sumitomo Chemical Company (Sumitomo), one of Japan's leading chemical companies and a member of the diversified Sumitomo Group, and Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) have agreed to go ahead with the proposed expansion of the Rabigh petrochemical complex on the western coast of Saudi Arabia.

Both the companies have been equal partners in the Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company (Petro Rabigh) for the construction and operation of an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex known as Rabigh-I since 2005.

''Our long standing partnership with Sumitomo Chemical continues to make further inroads with Rabigh-II representing a significant milestone in Saudi Aramco's downstream portfolio expansion and diversification strategy,'' said Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco.

The new plan envisages setting up the Rabigh-II project based on the feasibility studies, by moving ahead with the finalisation of various project components including engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and other project contracts as well as project financing, Sumitomo said in a statement.

Petro Rabigh will serve as the project company for the Rabigh-II project. The total project cost is estimated at approximately $7 billion.

The new project includes expansion of ethane cracker unit and construction of a new aromatics complex which will use additional 30 million cubic feet per day of ethane and around 3 million tonnes per year of naphtha as feedstock to produce a variety of petrochemical products.