State oil giant Saudi Aramco on Monday signed a joint development deal with France’s Total for preliminary engineering and design work on a $9bn petrochemical complex in Jubail.
The two sides signed a preliminary deal for the project during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to France in April.
It will be 62.5 per cent owned by Aramco and 37.5 per cent owned by Total and add to the existing Saudi Arabia Total Refining and Petrochemical complex the two operate in Jubail, which was established in 2008.
Aramco said the new facility would produce 1.5 million tonnes of ethylene and other petrochemical products per year and begin operations in 2024.
The project is expected to require $5bn of investment from the two firms and a further $4bn from third party investors.
“We are investing in this project as a milestone in Saudi Aramco’s strategy for massive growth and deep integration of the refining and chemicals sector,” said Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser.
“We seek to achieve [through] the agreement that was signed today a number of objectives, starting with the development of high quality fuel and petrochemical products, many of which will be produced and manufactured in the kingdom for the first time.”
The two sides also confirmed their commitment to a retail fuel station joint venture in Saudi Arabia that will compete with existing operators and new entrants like Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC Distribution.
Aramco is currently in talks to buy the Public Investment Fund’s majority stake in petrochemicals firm SABIC for an estimated $70bn.