Petro Rabigh utilizes 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 1.2 million tons per year of ethane as primary feedstock to produce a variety of refined petroleum products and petrochemical products. The refinery transferred from Saudi Aramco to Petro Rabigh has mainly been producing 8 million tons of heavy oil, 5.3 million tons of light oil, 3 million tons of naphtha and 2.6 million tons of kerosene annually. This refinery was upgraded to include a high olefin fluid catalytic cracking unit (HOFCC) for converting heavy and light oils to gasoline and other distillates, which added new annual capacities of 2.8 million tons of gasoline and 900,000 tons of propylene, a feedstock for petrochemical products.
Petro Rabigh converts ethane gas with its world-scale ethane cracker to 1.3 million tons of ethylene per year. It then uses this ethylene to produce easy processing polyethylene (EPPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and mono ethylene glycol (MEG). In addition, homo polypropylene (PP), block PP, and propylene oxide (PO), a raw material for urethane, are produced from propylene made by the HOFCC.
Products we know today as ethylene and polyethylene were made by ancient Egyptians by gassing the fig plant, which would stimulate ripening and releasing of ethylene. In 1872 carbon black, the first chemical to be made from petroleum, led to the production of synthetic rubber. And the modern petrochemical industry was started in 1920 by the Standard Oil Company in New Jersey.
Petrochemicals are the lifeblood of the modern world. They are essential for our survival, our way of living and our health and we owe to petrochemicals, a great many items and devices that contribute to making our lives easier, safer and more comfortable.