Aramco, Sumitomo make giant strides on Rabigh II development

Updated 26 May 2012
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Aramco, Sumitomo make giant strides on Rabigh II development

DHAHRAN: Saudi Aramco, together with its partner Sumitomo Chemical, have made significant progress on the feasibility of the Rabigh Phase II Project and will proceed to implement the expansion of a world-class petrochemical complex on the Kingdom's west coast.
Rabigh II will complement Saudi Aramco’s existing petrochemical investment portfolio especially in light of the Rabigh I petroleum refining and petrochemical production complex, currently owned by Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company (PetroRabigh), a joint stock company initially founded by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical.
The Rabigh II feasibility study and front-end engineering design work were jointly undertaken and funded by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo. As part of the next phase implementation of Rabigh II, Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical are finalizing various project milestones, including contracts for engineering, procurement and construction and other project-related agreements, as well as project financing.
Utilizing leading-edge technologies from Sumitomo Chemical and other companies, Rabigh II will explore maximization of existing synergies, the utilization of Saudi manpower, and development of the Kingdom's conversion industries.
“Our long standing partnership with Sumitomo Chemical continues to make further inroads with Rabigh II representing a significant milestone in Saudi Aramco’s downstream portfolio expansion and diversification strategy,” said Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih. “Both sponsors are thankful to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for their continued support for Rabigh’s expansion projects, and through which we endeavor to create further value for our stakeholder communities in the Kingdom with new businesses, entrepreneurial and job opportunities.”
Rabigh II’s development will include a new aromatics complex and an expanded facility to process 30 million standard cubic feet per day of ethane and approximately 3 million tons per year of naphtha as feedstock to produce a variety of high value-added petrochemical products. The total project investment is currently projected to reach approximately $7 billion.
The project is expected to begin operations in the first half of 2016. It is envisaged that PetroRabigh will be approached in due time and presented with the opportunity to serve as the project company for Rabigh II subject to PetroRabigh’s independent evaluation of the project feasibility results and separate corporate and regulatory approval procedure.
Rabigh II’s main products will be ethylene propylene rubber, thermoplastic polyolefin, methyl methacrylate monomer, polymethyl methacrylate, low density polyethylene/ ethylene vinyl acetate, para-xylene/benzene, cumene and phenol/acetone. Additionally, Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical will continue to implement other product lines on optimal schemes to realize further project optimization.


Crisis at India's Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors. (Reuters)
Updated 18 min 57 sec ago
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Crisis at India's Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

  • More than 20,000 people are employed in the company
  • The company had to stop more than 50% of their aircraft due to insufficient funds

MUMBAI: India's Jet Airways was fighting multiple crises Wednesday after grounding six planes, leaving it with only a third of its fleet flying, while pilots have threatened to walk out and a major shareholder is reportedly looking to offload its huge stake.

The problems at India's number-two carrier come as other airlines struggle to turn a profit despite the sector rapidly expanding in the country over recent years.

Jet, which employs more than 20,000 people, is gasping under debts of more than $1 billion and has now been forced to ground a total of 78 of its 119 aircraft after failing to pay lenders and aircraft lessors.

In a statement late Tuesday announcing its latest grounding, the firm it said it was "actively engaging" with lenders to secure fresh liquidity and wanted to "minimise disruption".

But with hundreds of customers left stranded, Jet's social media accounts have been flooded with often suddenly stranded passengers demanding information, new flight tickets and refunds.

"@jetairways We book our flights in advance so that we save on travel cost and you are sending cancellation (message) now?", read one irate tweet on Wednesday.

"I have sent a DM (direct message) regarding my ticket details. Please respond!", said Sachin Deshpande, according to his Twitter profile a design engineer.

Another, Ankit Maloo, wrote: "Received an email for all together cancellation of flight days before departure without any prior intimation or communication over phone!"

The firm is also facing pressure from its many pilots who have not been paid on time, with unions threatening they will walk off the job if salaries do not arrive soon.

"Pilots will stop flying jet planes from 1st April 2019 if the company does not disburse due salaries and take concrete decisions," a spokesperson for the National Aviator's Guild, a pilots union, told AFP.

India's aviation regulator on Tuesday warned Jet Airways to ensure that staffers facing stress are not forced to operate flights.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates has offered to sell its 24 percent stake in Jet to State Bank of India (SBI).

A collapse would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pragmatic pro-business reputation ahead of elections starting on April 11.

India's passenger numbers have rocketed six-fold over the past decade with its middle-class taking advantage of better connectivity and cheaper flights.

The country's aviation sector is projected to become the world's third-largest by 2025.

But like other carries, Mumbai-based Jet has been badly hit by fluctuating global crude prices, a weak rupee and fierce competition from budget rivals.

Alarm bells for Jet first rang in August when it failed to report its quarterly earnings or pay its staff, including pilots, on time. It then later reported a loss of $85 million.

In February, it secured a $1.19 billion bailout from lenders including SBI to bridge a funding gap, but the crisis has since deepened.

"Jet Airways is rapidly reaching a point of no return and running out of assets to keep itself afloat," Devesh Agarwal, editor of the Bangalore Aviation website, told AFP.

"The only solution is equity expansion by diluting its stakes but Jet is just trying to cut losses and running out of options," Agarwal said.

Shares in Jet Airways were down more than five percent on Wednesday.