A production facility of the Saudi Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya)

A production facility of the Saudi Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya)

New initiatives take a step forward

The Royal Commission hubs, already significant contributors to the Saudi economy, are on course to press their footprints deeper in the kingdom

September 2013

A new wave of industrial projects has been launched in the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu where the Royal Commission for the hubs estimates there are 600 factories with the value of investments  totaling SR776 billion ($206 billion) including SR269 billion from overseas.

The Royal Commission cities are said to contribute around 12 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP and 71 per cent of total exports.

Work has lately begun on key initiatives at Jubail including expansions at the Saudi Arabian Fertiliser Company, the Natural Gas Company and the steel firm Hadeed.

Construction has also commenced on a complex of Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals and a project to make industrial rubber in Saudi Jubail Petrochemical Company (Kemya) as well as on a project of Arabian Petrochemical Company (Petrokemya). Additionally a polyoxymethylene plant is being built at the National Methanol Company (Ibn Sina). 

In Yanbu, in the latest wave, ground breaking has taken place for a project of Arabian Industrial Fibres Company (Ibn Rushd). 

The Royal Commission plans to construct two PlasChem parks in each of the two cities to provide industrial services such as products packaging to all new refineries, petrochemical, and downstream plants to be built in their vicinities. They also aim to attract plastic downstream conversion industries including chemical manufacturers and to provide common services and facilities.

World markets are awaiting the construction of 26 plants that will produce more than 3 million tonnes of petrochemicals at the iconic complex of Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture between Dow and Saudi Aramco. The first production units will be ready in  H2 2015.

On a more modest scale, Sahara Petrochemicals Company, an affiliate of Tasnee and Sahara Olefins Company and the Saudi Acrylic Acid Company, has signed a contract with Daelim for a butanol plant that will have capacity of 330,000 tonnes annually of n-butanol and 11,000 metric tonnes of iso-butanol in Jubail Industrial city.

The world’s largest carbon dioxide purification and liquefaction plant for Jubail United Petrochemical Company, a manufacturing affiliate of Sabic is to be built in Jubail (See Page 41)

Construction is generally complete of the 400,000 bpd full-conversion Saudi Aramco Total Refinery & Petrochemicals Co (Satorp) refinery at Jubail. It is expected that all units will be in operation by November. The refinery will process Arab heavy crude and yield petrochemicals as well as high-quality fuels. It is Saudi Arabia’s first producer of petroleum coke and paraxylene.

Earlier this year, Sabic opened its first engineering thermoplastics compounding facility as well as a new polypropylene compounding (PPc) plant at its manufacturing affiliate, Saudi Specialty Chemicals Company in Jubail.

A plant of Arabian Industrial Fibres
Company (Ibn Rushd) in Yanbu Industrial

Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef) is expanding its Yanbu refinery to enhance the base oil product and meet the growing demand of high-quality GR-II and GR-III base oils. US-based Jacobs Engineering Group is providing project management. Luberef, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Jadwa Industrial Investment, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-quality base oil.

Chinese Petrochemical Corporation Sinopec has teamed up with Saudi Aramco for a refinery project at Yanbu called Yasref. Sinopec will hold a 37.5 per cent share in Yasref with Aramco holding the remaining 62.5 per cent.

The refinery, scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2014, will process 400,000 bpd of Arabian heavy crude oil and produce high-quality transportation fuels that meet the most stringent refined product specifications for domestic and international markets. Saudi Aramco’s extensive and integrated hydrocarbon facilities in Yanbu will be utilised to supply crude oil feedstock to Yasref and to export transportation fuels.

Siimco, the Saudi International Insulation Manufacturing Company, a joint venture equally owned by Alghanim Industries and Saint-Gobain, has leased a 65,000 sq m site at Yanbu to develop a plant to make stone wool, which is widely used as insulation in many parts of the construction industry.

Yanbu is also home to Yanbu National Petrochemicals Company (Yansab) which has capacity to produce 4 million tonnes of chemicals annually.

Saudi Arabian water and electricity company Marafiq has signed a $310 million contract with French utility giant Veolia to design, build and operate a desalination plant in Jubail using reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration technologies.

It will be located inside the petrochemical complex built by Saudi oil companies Aramco and Dow Chemicals and produce 178,000 cu m per day. Veolia will operate it for 10 years, and will have the option to continue for an additional 20-year period. The multi-utility will receive $94 million under the contract.

The plant will start operations in June 2015 and provide the petrochemical plant with water for its two cooling towers.

Marafiq is responsible for developing power and desalination solutions for Saudi Arabia’s industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu. It has completed an independent water and power project in Jubail that includes a 2,745-megawatt power plant and an 800,000 cu m per day desalination plant.

Marafiq has also launched its Yanbu 2 power and water project, which includes a 690-megawatt power plant and a 60,000 cu-m per-day desalination facility.

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