Oct. 9 (UPI) -- France's Total and Saudi Aramco inked an accord for the front-end engineering and design of a new petrochemical plant in an eastern province of Saudi Arabia. The agreement represents a $5 billion investment, and it is scheduled to start operating in 2024.
Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said during the signing event in Dhahran on Monday that the new plant "will deliver on multiple levels, from high-value fuels and petrochemical products never manufactured in the Kingdom before, destined for consumers on three continents."
The petrochemical plant will have capacity of "1.5 million tons per year of ethylene and related high-added-value petrochemical," the joint statement said. The plans were originally announced in April.
The petrochemical plant will help "take advantage of the fast growing Asian polymer markets," said Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and chief executive of Total.
The joint petrochemical complex is the second part of a join investment that resulted in the Satorp refinery that started operations in 2014, where Saudi Aramco has a 62.5 percent stake and Total the rest.
The refinery has capacity to process 440,000 barrels per day.
In addition, the project contemplates providing feedstock "for other petrochemical and specialty chemical plants located in the Jubail industrial area and beyond, representing an additional $4 billion investment by third party investors," according to the joint statement.