Saudi Aramco Review

Total ... eyeing integrated facilities

Total ... eyeing integrated facilities

Total and Aramco in talks for Satorp 2

Satorp has already started testing its planned 400,000 bpd Jubail oil refinery and the company expects the plant to be fully operational during 2013

SAUDI ARAMCO and its partner Total are studying the possibility of a second phase of their integrated petrochemical and refining project in Jubail, Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemicals Company (Satorp).

“We are in talks with Saudi Aramco to launch a second phase of the project following the successful start-up of the first phase,” says Patrick Pouyanne, president of the downstream sector at Total. Pouyanne says that first phase of the Satorp project is on target to start commercial production by the end of 2013. “We are also studying the possibility of integrating Satorp with Sadara Chemical Company,” Pouyanne says. “This is still in its early stages,” he says.

Satorp is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Total, tasked with developing a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), full-conversion refinery in Jubail, on Saudi Arabia’s Eastern coast, integrated with a petrochemicals complex which will produce olefins and aromatics.

The project will process Arabian heavy crude oil from the giant Manifa field, and produce a wide variety of refined and petrochemical products, including diesel with 10 ppm sulphur content, in order to meet ‘Euro 5’ standards which dictate the reduction of sulphur content in diesel and gasoline.

As part of Total’s off-take agreement, this fuel would be eligible for sale within the European Union. Gulf refiners typically achieve a sulphur content of around 50 ppm, which makes the produced fuel impossible to sell in EU markets, but through new refineries and major upgrades the majority are trending towards reaching this target.

Saudi Aramco and Total have started testing their new refinery at Jubail, three sources with knowledge of the project say, raising the prospect of full operation of the $14 billion facility ahead of a scheduled start-up in the third quarter of 2013. Satorp has fired up the boilers at the plant, designed to reduce Saudi reliance on imports and meet rapidly rising fuel demand. The commissioning process is due to begin on schedule in the first quarter of next year.

The company hopes to bring the first of two crude distillation units (CDU) online before year-end, the sources say. One of the sources says the new facility could be fully operational in the second quarter.

More Stories