Saudi Aramco ramping up aromatics output, aims to become 'top-three petrochemical company,' CEO says; company's JV with France's Total to have PX, benzene capacities of 700,000 tonnes/year, 140,000/year, respectively, when operations begin in 2013

LOS ANGELES , March 7, 2012 () – The Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) is planning to ramp up its production of aromatics on declining ethane supply in the country, ICIS news reported March 5.

The state-owned company is constructing refineries for aromatics production and considering methods of repurposing existing refineries, which up until now have only produced oil products, for aromatics production.

Aramco has teamed up with France's Total to construct a petrochemical complex in Al-Jubail that will have paraxylene capacity of 700,000 tonnes per year and benzene capacity of 140,000 tonnes/year. The complex is scheduled to come online in the latter half of 2013. Additionally, Aramco is looking to add aromatics production at its Ras Tanura and Jazan refineries, and is reviewing options for aromatics output at its Yanbu refinery on the Red Sea coast.

Aramco is also teaming up with U.S.-based Dow Chemical Co. for a petrochemical JV, Sadara Chemical, and is expanding its investment in its JV with Sumitomo Chemical, Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical.

Aramco CEO Khalid Al-Falih was recently quoted as saying that Aramco aims to become a "top-three petrochemical company," ICIS noted.

The primary source of this article is ICIS news, Sutton, England, March 5, 2012.

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