Saudi Aramco, SABIC sign deal with Britain’s 'Wood Group' to develop world’s largest crude oil to chemicals project

Wood Group will develop the $20 billion complex and provide front-end engineering design and project management services during the engineering, procurement and construction phase. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Saudi Aramco, SABIC sign deal with Britain’s 'Wood Group' to develop world’s largest crude oil to chemicals project

DUBAI: Oil giant Aramco and petrochemicals manufacturer SABIC selected on Thursday British energy services provider Wood Group to develop the world’s largest fully integrated crude oil to chemicals (COTC) complex in Saudi Arabia.
Wood Group will develop the $20 billion complex and provide front-end engineering design and project management services during the engineering, procurement and construction phase.
The energy service provider will also support the development of the complex that is expected to process 400,000 barrels a day and around 9 million tons of chemicals and base oils annually.
The agreement coincided with the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the United Kingdom. It also follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2017 between Saudi Aramco and SABIC to assist in bringing the mega-project to its next stage of development.
The scope of the contract primarily includes the finalization of the project, selection of technology providers, updating project economics and performing the front-end engineering design.
The project is expected to achieve a direct conversion rate from crude oil to chemicals of almost 50 percent.
“This offers the Kingdom solid opportunities to produce chemicals as a feedstock as part of Saudi Aramco’s efforts to maximize return on investments in hydrocarbon resources,” President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, Amin H. Nasser said.
“This is an important milestone in a partnership that we are proud of between Saudi Aramco and Sabic, a partnership that is in line with Saudi Aramco’s strategy for business integration, adding value and tackling global growth opportunities in chemicals,” he added.
It will be capable of maximizing chemical yield, recycling by-products, optimizing resources and driving efficiencies of scale, Nasser explained.
“Ours is a business relying on finite natural resources for our feedstock. We have an obligation to deploy those resources as efficiently and in the most sustainable manner possible,” Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC Yousef Al-Benyan said.
The project will generate the world’s highest proven yield conversion rate of oil to chemicals in a competitive and sustainable way, according to Al-Benyan.
The contract is expected to continue through to the start of operations in 2025.
By 2030, the COTC complex is expected to be a significant contributor to Saudi Arabia’s GDP and play a key role in helping the continued economic diversification from crude exports to higher value industrial products.


Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

Updated 52 min 27 sec ago
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Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

  • The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon
  • Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications

WASHINGTON: Walmart said Tuesday it was entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft on “digital transformation” for the onetime retail industry leader.
The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon, which is taking a growing share of retail sales in the United States and globally.
The two firms said the partnership was focused on using artificial intelligence and other technology tools to help manage costs, expand operations and innovate faster.
“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work,” said Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO.
Microsoft’s business cloud computing platform known as Azure will help Walmart manage operations ranging from refrigeration and air conditioning to improving its supply chain and transportation.
“The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications and will expand that to tap into Microsoft’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, the research firm eMarketer said Amazon’s surging growth would enable it to capture 49.1 percent of US online retail sales this year, up from 43.5 percent.
Amazon is far ahead of online rivals like eBay, with 6.6 percent of ecommerce, and Apple, at 3.9 percent, according to eMarketer, which estimated Walmart’s share at 3.7 percent.
According to the research, Amazon now controls nearly five of the total US retail market, including online and offline.