Saudi Ethane Gas Supplies To The Domestic Market Will Nearly Double By 2010.The state-owned Saudi Aramco Saudi Aramco, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia, is the largest oil corporation in the world and the world's largest in terms of proven crude oil reserves and production. has confirmed that it will raise domestic supplies of ethane ethane (ĕth`ān), CH3CH3, gaseous hydrocarbon. It is a continuous-chain alkane. As a constituent of natural gas, it is used for fuel. It can be prepared by cracking and fractional distillation of petroleum. gas from 600 MCF/day now to 1,100 MCF/day by 2010. Ethane is the most competitive feedstock for ethylene production, not only in the Middle East but also throughout the world. Until a few years ago, it has been an increasingly limited resource in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia (sä`dē ərā`bēə, sou`–, sô–), officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kingdom (2005 est. pop. .
In the past two years, there has been some speculation about the extent to which limited ethane supplies in Saudi Arabia could put the brakes on its fast-growing petrochemicals industry. Assurances that ethane supplies will be nearly doubling by 2010 were made by Saudi Aramco during a MEED Gulf Petrochemicals conference in Bahrain on June 7-8.
The Saudi petrochemicals industry has come a long way through difficult times since the establishment of the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC SABIC Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
SABIC Sample-Band Image Coding (currency counterfeit deterrence technique) ) 30 years ago. Today, SABIC is a global player, having established itself as the world's third-largest producer polyethylene producer and the fourth-largest producer of polymers. SABIC's capacity to produce petrochemicals will rise from 43 million tons/year at the beginning of 2005 to 60 million t/y by 2008, already being the biggest producer in the Middle East.
Private producers of petrochemicals in Saudi Arabia are increasing in number and in capacity as well (see Downstream Trends). Both the private producers and SABIC - which is still controlled by the state but will be privatised further through the coming years - depend on cheap feedstocks: both ethane/ methane from non-associated gas and the propane/butane mix (LPG LPG: see liquefied petroleum gas.
1. LPG - Linguaggio Procedure Grafiche (Italian for "Graphical Procedures Language"). dott. Gabriele Selmi. Roughly a cross between Fortran and APL, with graphical-oriented extensions and several peculiarities. ) from gas associated with oil production.
According to Salem Al-Subayee, a consultant at Saudi Aramco's domestic marketing department, the company plans to raise natural gas production to 7,000 MCF/day by 2009 from about 5,000 MCF/day this year. Domestic ethane supplies will in turn rise to more than 900 MCF/day by 2008.
The new gas supplies will largely come from Saudi Aramco's multi-billion-dollar Hawiyah natural gas liquids (NGL NGL - A dialect of IGL. ) programme, which is due for completion by end-2007, and from associated gas from the development of the onshore Abu Hadriyah, Fadhili and Khursaniyah (AFK "Away from keyboard." See digispeak.
(chat) AFK - away from keyboard. ) oilfields in the Eastern Province, scheduled to come on stream around the same time.
Exploration for non-associated gas in the Rub' Al-Khali (Empty Quarter) by international oil companies (IOCs) in partnership with Saudi Aramco could - if successful - boost gas supplies further. IOCs involved in gas E&P ventures there include Shell, Total, Repsol/Agip, LUKoil and a Chinese firm.
Recent ethane limitations have been reflected in the rising number of proposed mixed feedstock crackers for SABIC and private groups. New projects are mostly based on combined ethane/propane cracking or, as in the proposed Project Management Development (PMD (Polarization Mode Dispersion) The type of dispersion that occurs in singlemode fiber due to a lack of perfect symmetry in the fiber and from external pressures on the cable. Light travels over singlemode fiber in two polarization states. ) venture, on an ethane/butane mix. While economically less attractive than cracking only ethane, combining feedstocks has been the only option to get around the ethane shortages.
Despite the expected increase of new ethane supplies over the next four years, ethane's overall share in ethylene production is expected to decrease gradually. According to Al-Subayee, out of the 15 million t/y of ethylene production forecast for 2010, 6 million t/y will come from propane, butane butane (by`tān), C4H10, gaseous alkane, a hydrocarbon that is obtained from natural gas or by refining petroleum. , naphtha naphtha (năp`thə, năf`–), term usually restricted to a class of colorless, volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures. and fluid catalytic cracking. This is partly due to the trend towards integrating petrochemical complexes with refineries. Distributing ethane among a greater number of companies with higher demand requirements is likely to be another reason for this trend.