January 17, 2019 / 12:03 PM / 7 months ago

Saudi Aramco hires SMBC, Riyad Bank for Amiral project financing: sources

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama, Bahrain, March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco (IPO-ARAM.SE) has hired Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) and Riyad Bank to advise it on financing Amiral, a petrochemical project it plans to develop with France’s Total (TOTF.PA), sources familiar with the matter said.

The Saudi state-owned oil producer approached banks for the financing of the project, which is expected to be around $5 billion, late last year, sources told Reuters at the time.

Total declined to comment. Aramco, Riyad Bank and SMBC did not respond to requests for immediate comment.

Aramco, the world’s largest crude producer, plans to boost investment in refining and petrochemicals in a bid to cut reliance on crude as demand for oil slows.

Plans for the giant Amiral petrochemical complex in the Saudi city of Jubail were announced in April 2018.

The project - scheduled to start up in 2024 - will be located next to the Satorp refinery, which is also jointly owned and operated by Aramco and Total.

The companies said last year the facility would comprise a mixed-feed cracker with a capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes a year of ethylene. It will also have other units producing high-value petrochemicals.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia in Dubai and Bate Felix in Paris; editing by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely

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