Saudi Aramco is considering building a $20 billion refining and petrochemical complex at Yanbu on the Red Sea coast, said industry sources.
The new refinery would have a capacity of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) and stand next to an existing refinery at Yanbu, wholly owned by Aramco, which has a capacity of 240,000 bpd and would also feed the planned petrochemical complex.
The sources said British-based Amec Foster Wheeler was expected to win the contract to execute front-end engineering and design (Feed) work for the project.
The project, planning for which is still in the initial stages, would be completed in 2023 if it goes ahead, one of the sources said.
Aramco has been integrating its refineries with petrochemical production as it develops its downstream business and expands its trading of refined products.
It is already building with Dow Chemical a mixed-feed ethane/naphtha cracker for its petrochemical complex in Jubail at a cost of approximately $20 billion.
The kingdom's move to become one of the world's largest oil refiners, as well as the top oil exporter, is adding an extra dimension to its role as the main driver of Opec policy.
Last year Aramco said its downstream investments would exceed $100 billion over the next decade and its refining capacity would reach between 8 and 10 million bpd in coming years. It currently has stakes in over 5 million bpd of refining capacity at home and abroad.