THE FUTURE LIES HERE

Saudi Arabia 2016 | INDUSTRY | FOCUS: JAZAN REFINERY

In 2014, Aramco began to build its new refinery in Jazan as well as the world's largest gas-powered plant, which is expected to produce electricity for the refinery and surrounding industrial city.

Saudi Aramco is currently constructing a new petroleum refinery in Jazan. It is will be one of the largest refineries in Saudi Arabia. After receiving the license from the Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources in November 2012, more than $6 billion worth contracts have been tendered to international companies to build a refinery that will meet the highest international standards.

Once complete, it will boast cutting-edge technology with a processing capacity of 400,000bpd. With regard to products, 75,000 barrels of heavy and medium crude oil will be turned into gasoline, while 250,000 barrels will be transformed into ultra-low-sulphur diesel. The remaining 75,000 barrels will be refined in order to obtain sulphur, paraxylene, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt, and benzene.

Construction work began back in 2014 with final completion scheduled by 2018, although Saudi Aramco expects the first units to start operations in 2017.

The complex's inauguration was originally announced for late 2016; however, it suffered delays due to a behind-schedule implementation of associated infrastructure. The construction process is currently ongoing and in September 2015 a vessel sailed from Italy's Porto Marghera headed to the port of Jazan transporting roughly 31,000 freight tons of cargo. The shipment included pumps, pressure vessels, heat exchangers, and other auxiliary accessories necessary for the construction of the refinery and for other projects that will arise in Jazan's industrial area.

The refinery is, in fact, the mainstay of a $20 billion major plan for developing an industrial city in Jazan, as a sub-project of the Jazan Economic City (JEC) project, in a bid to revive the economy of the impoverished region bordering Yemen. Being built on a 100sqm site northwest of the existing Jazan city, the project also includes a refinery terminal and a gas-powered plant. The multiple-pier marine terminal will be constructed near the refinery with the purpose of supplying it with crude oil while supporting the refined products export operations.

As per the power plant, it is designed to deliver electricity to the adjacent refinery and to the Jazan Industrial City area by using gas residues produced by the refinery as well as high-sulphur fuel oil. The Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) power plant, also operated by Saudi Aramco, will start operation in 2017, and with its installed capacity of 4,000MW is set to become the largest gas-powered power plant in the world.