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Aramco takes step to integrating petrochems into US biggest refinery

The 1.2-million bpd Reliance Industries refinery in Jamnagar, India, has the world's largest crude oil processing capacity

Reuters  |  Houston 

Saudi Aramco, Reuters
Saudi Aramco, Reuters

took the first steps to integrating a petrochemicals business into the United States' biggest refinery, which is operated by its subsidiary

Aramco's signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth $8 billion-$10 billion with UOP and FMC to study for use in a the company is considering building at the refinery.

Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman, who was winding up a two-week visit to the United States, was present at the signing in Houston, Texas, on Saturday along with Saudi and U.S.

"These agreements signal our plans for expansion into petrochemicals," Motiva's said.

Aramco, which wants to develop its as the government prepares to sell up to 5 percent of the world's largest firm in an initial public offering (IPO) this year, wants to use as a major petrochemicals feedstock.

Coffman also said Motiva was evaluating boosting the 603,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery's capacity to 1 million or 1.5 million bpd, which would make it the largest in the world.

The aromatics unit for which 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 and

The other MoU would allow to use FMC's in the The technology would produce 2 million tons a year of ethylene, which is used to make plastics, Motiva said.

The final investment decision on setting up a multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant at is not expected until 2019, and is "dependent on strong economics, competitive incentives, and regulatory support," said in a statement.

Coffman did not provide a timeline for the possible expansion of the Port Arthur refinery's

"That's something we're evaluating, we're studying for in the future," he said.

The 1.2-million bpd refinery in Jamnagar, India, has the world's largest

Aramco said last year that it would invest $18 billion in Motiva to expand the refinery and move into petrochemical production.

Other U.S. companies, including - a joint venture of and - and Exxon Mobil Corp, have recently opened plants, like the one Motiva is considering, to process ethane into ethylene.

Chevron Phillips is considering building a second ethane cracker on the of

The price tag for a large ethane cracker is typically over $6 billion, according to analysts. In addition to taking refining byproducts, ethane crackers provide hydrogen for refineries to use in making motor fuels.

First Published: Mon, April 09 2018. 01:54 IST