New ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco Technologies Produce Ethylene Directly from Crude Oil, Potentially Saving Refiners Millions

IHS, July 8, 2016

Two new steam-cracking processes developed by ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco, respectively, allow petrochemical producers to essentially skip the refining process in converting crude oil directly to light olefins. These new processes could potentially save refiners as much as $200-per-ton of ethylene produced. The ExxonMobil approach completely bypasses the traditional naphtha cracking process. Saudi Aramco has its own process for crude oil to olefins, and in June 2016, Aramco announced a joint venture with SABIC to study building a ‘crude oil-to-chemicals’ complex in Saudi Arabia. According to Anthony Pavone, director of engineering at IHS Chemical, “This new crude-to-olefins process is about production cost savings, and takes advantage of the premium that naphtha commands over crude oil in Southeast Asia. It is this ‘feedstock spread’ that contributes most of the cost-savings advantage.” 


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