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Largest U.S. Refinery Is Being Considered To Be Considered To Be Expanded By Saudi Aramco

Largest U.S. Refinery Is Being Considered To Be Considered To Be Expanded By Saudi Aramco
The largest refinery in the United States that is run by Motiva Enterprises – a subsidiary of the Saudi Aramco – the largest oil producer in the world, will be expanded further and the Saudi oil producer took the first steps towards it late last week.
The company is planning of the construction of a multi-billion-dollar chemical plant at the Port Arthur refinery and the company now wants to investigate the best technology for petrochemical production at the site. For this purpose, agreements were signed with Honeywell UOP, and Technip FMC for such a study by Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser.
“These agreements signal our plans for expansion into petrochemicals,” said Motiva’s Chief Executive Brian Coffman.
The refinery would become the largest in the world ads there are plans to increase the refinery’s capacity from 603,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) to anywhere between 1 million and 1.5 million bpd – the evaluation for which is also being conducted by Motiva, Coffman also said.
The signing of the agreements was conducted on the last legs of a two-week visit to the United States by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Others who were present at on the occasion were U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.
Annual output of 2 million tons of feedstocks for chemicals and plastics would be generated form the aromatics unit from two of the byproducts of gasoline production - the benzene and paraxylene, and for this purpose, the authorities are considering Honeywell UOP’s technology.
Motiva said that plastics would also be made from the 2 million tons a year of ethylene that would be produced by the Technip FMC technology.
Motiva said in a statement that it would not be until 2019 that a final decision would be taken about the investment on the Port Arthur petrochemical plant.
No potential time line or time frame was provided for the potential expansion of the  at Port Arthur refinery by Coffman.
“That’s something we’re evaluating, we’re studying for in the future,” he said.
Currently the largest crude oil processing refinery in the world is owned by Reliance Industries in Jamnagar, India with a total annual capacity of 1.2-million bpd.
Last year, Aramco had announced that it would venture into petrochemical production and would invest $18 billion in Motiva for the expansion of the refinery.
Plants that would process ethane into ethylene, like the one Motiva is planning, have been opened up recently by some other companies like Exxon Mobil Corp and U.S.  companies that includes names like Chevron Phillips Chemical Co which is a joint venture company of Chevron Corp and Phillips 66. The Gulf Coast of Texas is the placer where considerations is being made for a second ethane cracker units by Chevron Phillips.
According to analysts. $ 6 billion is the typical cost of setting up of a large sized ethane cracker unit. Hydrogen for refineries to use in making motor fuels is also provided by ethane crackers apart from taking refining byproducts.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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