2006 Speech

Remarks of the Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimiat PETRORabigh Groundbreaking Ceremony, Rabigh.

My friends in the media,  I first wish to welcome you here to Rabigh, where we will witness a significant step in the Kingdom's economic progress and diversification, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.


My friends, the execution today of the final financial documents for the PETRORabigh Project by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical is a landmark event. It is the culmination of a determined effort to implement this project, whose related studies and negotiations started over two years ago.

This project is one of the world's greatest integrated oil refining and petrochemical projects to be built in one stroke, with an expected completion date of year-end 2008. The project involves development and modernization of the existing refinery so that it can refine Arabian heavy crude oil to produce high-value light petroleum products. It also involves construction of a mega-petrochemical complex, as well as further downstream and secondary industries which will provide attractive opportunities for both the Saudi and foreign private sector.

My friends,I would like to highlight the fact that the PETRORabigh project is part of a bigger picture. That bigger picture is the Kingdom's economic strategy in general, and the petroleum strategy in particular, which benefits from the unlimited support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. This strategy includes expanding the base of the Saudi economy, diversifying national income sources, attracting international investments, and reaping the direct and indirect benefits that these type of projects will accrue to the Saudi citizen.

Based on this strategy, PETRORabigh will focus on the following objectives:

First: Participation by Saudi nationals in the ownership of this project, and benefitting from the anticipated revenues, through the floating of not less than 25 percent of the project for public subscription. This comes on the direct orders of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Second: Provision of greater opportunity for national capital markets through borrowing from Saudi national institutions, including about 50 percent of the amount of the credit. The project will also entail borrowing of substantial international capital from regional and global financial institutions. In addition to Sumitomo Chemical's participation, Japan's financial institutions will fund about half the amount borrowed for this project.

Third: Support for the Saudi private sector by awarding a sizeable portion of the project requirements to Saudi national companies, and allowing these companies the opportunity to participate in ongoing need for support services after completion of the project.

Fourth: Concentration on conversion and secondary petrochemical industries related to the project. In this regard, an industrial complex will be attached to the main project. All infrastructure requirements for this industrial complex will be provided with enough capacity to accommodate more than 30 investment sites. We anticipate great success in attracting national and global investment for these downstream projects. Feedstock will be made available for conversion industries through long-term supply contracts based on competitive conditions, terms and prices. It is expected that this will give rise to industries such as plastic, paints, insulation and waterproofing materials, as well as auto parts and other industries.

My friends, Once again I would like to thank you for sharing in our celebration. I am fully confident that we shall meet again to celebrate many similar events to come.

I will now be happy to answer any questions you may have.