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.


SoftBank’s Son says Japan is ‘stupid’ to disallow ride-sharing

Updated 19 July 2018
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SoftBank’s Son says Japan is ‘stupid’ to disallow ride-sharing

  • ‘Ride-sharing is prohibited by law in Japan. I can’t believe there is still such a stupid country’
  • SoftBank and its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund have invested in ride-sharing firms Uber, Didi, Ola and Grab, as well as in other technology companies

TOKYO: SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son blasted Japan on Thursday for not allowing ride-sharing services, calling it “stupid” and saying the country was lagging overseas rivals in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI).
“Ride-sharing is prohibited by law in Japan. I can’t believe there is still such a stupid country,” Son said at an annual company event aimed at customers and suppliers.
The comments reflect Son’s frustration with Japan where he built SoftBank’s domestic telecoms business, the cash engine that has powered his investments. The group has, however, focused its growing range of technology investments overseas.
Son has also been highly critical of the government previously when SoftBank was still a fledgling telecoms service trying to break up a cozy duopoly in Japan.
“A country that gives up on the future has no future,” Son told attendees at the SoftBank World event, saying Japanese business is lagging behind countries such as the United States and China in employing AI.
Japan outlaws non-professional drivers from transporting paying customers on safety grounds and the country’s taxi industry lobby has vigorously opposed deregulation.
Its strict rules have confined ride-sharing firms to providing limited services, with SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing saying on Thursday they will trial a taxi-hailing service — matching users to pre-existing taxi operators — in Osaka beginning autumn of 2019. Uber is also piloting a taxi-hailing service.
When asked for a response to Son’s comments, a spokesman for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said that an issue with ride-sharing services was that while the driver was in charge of transporting passengers, it was unclear who was in charge of maintenance and operation.
“The ministry believes that offering these services for a fee poses problems from the points of both safety and user protection, and careful consideration is necessary,” he said.
Ride-sharing is not the only service in Japan feeling the impact of government restrictions. Strict new rules on home-sharing came into force last month that have radically reduced the number of lettings on sites such as Airbnb Inc.
The curbs on Japan’s nascent sharing economy come despite a rapid rise in the number of inbound tourists likely to access such sharing services, and at a time when Japan is wanting to show its international face ahead of hosting the Rugby World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2020.
While Son, an ethnic Korean born in Japan, has at times criticized the Japanese government, he can also be politically suave. He has praised US President Donald Trump with warm words and pledged to invest billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in the United States.
SoftBank and its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund have invested in ride-sharing firms Uber Technologies Inc, Didi, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s Grab, as well as in other technology companies.
The event on Thursday saw presentations from executives at portfolio companies including Didi, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit Cruise and India digital payments firm Paytm E-Commerce Pvt Ltd.
Artificial intelligence is the common thread linking these companies, Son said, with that technology in the future able drive vehicles, diagnose diseases and power financial services.