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.


Thomas Cook warns on profit as hot summer hits demand

Updated 24 September 2018
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Thomas Cook warns on profit as hot summer hits demand

  • Thomas Cook makes all its profit in the summer when its customers in northern Europe go on holiday
  • But ‘unprecedented months of hot weather’ reduced demand for late bookings

LONDON: British travel company Thomas Cook cut its 2018 profit outlook by about 13 percent, blaming a heatwave in northern Europe for more discounting and tougher competition in the most profitable later part of the summer holiday season.
Thomas Cook makes all its profit in the summer when its customers in northern Europe, including Britain, Germany and Scandinavia go on holiday, mainly to warmer destinations in southern Europe such as Spain, Turkey and Greece.
But what the company described as “unprecedented months of hot weather” reduced demand for late bookings, adding to pressure after it had already warned in July that profit would be at the lower end of expectations.
“The slowdown in customer bookings during June and July extended into August, leading to higher than normal levels of promotional activity,” Thomas Cook said in a statement on Monday.
Thomas Cook’s bigger rival TUI Group in August stuck to its forecasts but said that the heatwave would prevent it from beating them.
For the 12 months to Sept. 30 2018, Thomas Cook guided that underlying operating profit (EBIT) would come in at around £280 million ($366 million), below a previous £323 million to £355 million range.
The company also said the hot summer was affecting demand for winter holidays, saying that it would provide more detailed guidance in November when it reports its annual results.
In a separate statement, Thomas Cook said its chief financial officer Bill Scott would leave the company on November 30, and be replaced on an interim basis by Sten Daugaard, a board member of Thomas Cook’s German business.
A search for a permanent successor would be started immediately, the company added.