Amin Nasser, chief executive officer of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Aramco), gestures as he speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 23 - 26. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Aramco chief Amin Nasser said its investment in India formed part of its global downstream strategy. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

France's Total to build $5bn petrochemicals facility with Aramco in Saudi Arabia

French oil major Total and Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, plan to develop a petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia that could attract as much as $9 billion in investments including a $5bn ethylene cracker plant.

The planned project is part of the deals worth more than $12bn signed between Saudi Aramco and several French companies during Saudi-France CEOs forum in Paris.

The joint venture, in which Aramco will have a 62.5 per cent stake, will be integrated with the 440,000-barrel-per-day Satorp refinery in the industrial city of Jubail, which also counts Total and the Saudi oil and gas giant as shareholders, Aramco said in a statement on Tuesday. The agreement was signed during an official visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France.

The petrochemical complex, which will use ethane and refinery off-gas as feedstock, will have a capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes per year of ethylene and other products. Front-end engineering and design of the project will commence in the third quarter of 2018.

“The agreement deepens the exemplary relationship enjoyed by our two companies over many decades. It is one that has evolved from a standard buyer-seller arrangement to one imbued with common interests to further develop and diversify our businesses,“ said Amin Nasser, chief executive of Saudi Aramco. “Our joint venture Satorp is a remarkably successful model of industry partnership and we are keen to build on this success to further underpin Saudi Aramco’s strategy to expand its capacity in the chemicals sector by 2030.”

Aramco and other Arabian Gulf state-owned energy companies, including Abu Dhabi National Oil Company are expanding their refining and petrochemical capacities as part of efforts to eke out extra value from each barrel of oil and gas produced.


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Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is planning to nearly double its refining capacity from current 5.4 million barrels of oil per day by expanding in the kingdom and abroad, where it has stakes in refineries in China, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Third party investors are expected to contribute $4bn to projects linked to the ethylene cracker, which will feed other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants. In total, the project will attract $9bn in investments, produce more than 2.7 million metric tonnes of higher value chemicals and create 8,00 local direct and indirect jobs.

“This project illustrates our strategy of maximising the integration of our large refining and petrochemical platforms and of expanding our petrochemical operations from low-cost feedstock, to take advantage of the fast growing Asian polymer market," said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and chief executive of Total. “This project will enable us to strengthen our ties with Saudi Aramco, with whom we successfully operate our biggest and most efficient refinery in the world.”

Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, the region’s biggest petrochemical producer, are building a $20bn oil-to-chemicals plant, which is expected to yield 9 million metric tonnes of products a year.

Aramco signed this week an agreement worth $8bn to $10bn with Honeywell and Technip to study petchems production technology for use in a chemical plant the company is considering building at the Port Arthur refinery, the biggest oil refinery in the US that is operated by Aramco subsidiary Motiva Enterprises.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Not Dark Yet

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Four stars

The Uefa Awards winners

Uefa Men's Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Uefa Women's Player of the Year: Lucy Bronze (Lyon)

Best players of the 2018/19 Uefa Champions League

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)

Defender: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Uefa President's Award: Eric Cantona

Day 2, Dubai Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Pakistan’s effort in the field had hints of shambles about it. The wheels were officially off when Wahab Riaz lost his run up and aborted the delivery four times in a row. He re-measured his run, jogged in for two practice goes. Then, when he was finally ready to go, he bailed out again. It was a total cringefest.

Stat of the day – 139.5 Yasir Shah has bowled 139.5 overs in three innings so far in this Test series. Judged by his returns, the workload has not withered him. He has 14 wickets so far, and became history’s first spinner to take five-wickets in an innings in five consecutive Tests. Not bad for someone whose fitness was in question before the series.

The verdict Stranger things have happened, but it is going to take something extraordinary for Pakistan to keep their undefeated record in Test series in the UAE in tact from this position. At least Shan Masood and Sami Aslam have made a positive start to the salvage effort.

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