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.


Oman ‘still needs expats,’ ministry says

Updated 16 December 2018
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Oman ‘still needs expats,’ ministry says

  • The ministry said expat workers are needed because the country is working on “mega infrastructure projects”
  • Expats make up almost 90 percent of Oman’s private sector workforce, which the government has been trying to reduce

DUBAI: Driving down the number of expat workers in Oman’s private sector is “going to take a long time,” a senior official at the Ministry of Manpower said, highlighting infrastructure projects as areas where expat workers are needed.
Despite ongoing efforts to integrate more Omanis in the workforce, the ministry said the country still needs expat workers for “mega infrastructure projects.”
Expats make up almost 90 percent of Oman’s private sector workforce, which the government has been trying to reduce through its Omanization policies.
“Some professions in the private sector are Omanized and restricted to Omanis, such as administrative professions and some senior leadership positions, such as personnel managers and human resource managers. The Ministry of Manpower also issued a decision to ban the recruitment of a non-Omani labor force in some professions, as well introduced a hike in work permit fees for the expatriate labor force,” Salim bin Nasser Al Harami, Director General of Planning and Development at the Ministry of Manpower, told local daily Times of Oman.
The expatriate visa ban halted the hiring of expats to jobs across 87 sectors which include information systems, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, administration, human resources and insurance.
These efforts resulted in a two percent decline in October, which Al Hadrami said was a “a good and positive indicator.”
The National Center for Statistics & Information in Oman reported that of the 2,041,190 workers in the private sector, only 250,717 are Omanis, with the vast majority – 87.72 percent – being expatriates.
The Omanization drive aims to recruit more of local citizens in private companies — a similar push across the GCC where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who have also been trying to increase the number of nationals in private sector employment.