Saudi Aramco integrating petrochemicals business into US biggest refinery

Vastavam web: Saudi Aramco took the first steps to integrating a petrochemicals business into the United States’ biggest oil refinery, which is operated by its subsidiary Motiva Enterprises.Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth $8 billion-$10 billion with Honeywell UOP (HON.N) and Technip FMC (FTI.N) to study petrochemical production technology for use in a chemical plant the company is considering building at the Port Arthur refinery.

“These agreements signal our plans for expansion into petrochemicals,” Motiva’s Chief Executive Brian Coffman said.Aramco, which wants to develop its downstream business as the government prepares to sell up to 5 percent of the world’s largest oil firm in an initial public offering (IPO) this year, wants to use oil as a major petrochemicals feedstock.The aromatics unit for which Honeywell UOP’s technology is being considered under one of the MoUs, would convert benzene and paraxylene, byproducts of gasoline production, into 2 million tons annually of feedstocks for chemicals and plastics.

The other MoU would allow Aramco to use Technip FMC’s mixed-feed ethylene production technologies in the United States. The technology would produce 2 million tons a year of ethylene, which is used to make plastics, Motiva said.Coffman did not provide a timeline for the possible expansion of the Port Arthur refinery’s crude oil processing capacity.The 1.2-million bpd Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) refinery in Jamnagar, India, has the world’s largest crude oil processing capacity.Aramco said last year that it would invest $18 billion in Motiva to expand the refinery and move into petrochemical production.