A Giant Partnership, for a Highly Efficient Integrated Refining and Petrochemical Complex

Not far from the port of Jubail in the Saudi Arabian desert, two oil industry giants have built one of the world's Top Ten most efficient refineries. Pooling their expertise in a joint venture, Saudi Aramco and Total have pulled off a colossal project. The complex, dubbed SATORP for Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company, will eventually employ 85% Saudi nationals (current 2015 target of 65%). To make good on that strong commitment, Total has launched an ambitious training program.

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    Up and running.
    After six years of construction work, SATORP has been fully operational since June 2015. Teams are on the job, ensuring that the refinery's operations are safe and optimized.

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    One of the ten most efficient refineries in the world.
    The product of a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Total, SATORP was designed to convert hard-to-process oil.

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    400,000 barrels a day.
    This is what the refinery looks like, an immense complex located on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's eastern seaboard.

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    A few kilometers from Jubail Industrial City.
    Lights come on gradually at dusk in the refinery, located not far from the city of Jubail and its port infrastructure.

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    SATORP never sleeps.
    The refinery keeps up a steady pace day and night.

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    A technical feat.
    45,000 people will have worked to build this highly efficient refinery.

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    Total's job commitments. Expanding local employment is a core focus of the project. Eventually, 85% of the site's 1,100 employees will be Saudi nationals.

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    Skills transfer.
    28 young Saudi engineers completed their training program in France between 2010 and 2012, thanks to a partnership with IFP Énergies Nouvelles (IFPEN).

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    Training.
    IFPEN's experts supervised 400 young Saudi apprentices in 2011 and 2012.

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    Collaboration and partnership.
    These are the values SATORP was built on and puts into practice.

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Collaboration and Technical Feats in the Desert

Nine years after the first agreements were signed and just six years after construction began, the SATORP refinery has been fully operational since mid-2014. Designed to refine crude oil that is especially difficult to process, it is one of the ten most efficient in the world. Its success is the result of a partnership between two of the world’s biggest oil companies, Saudi Aramco and Total.

The Challenge of Top-to-Bottom Collaboration

To coordinate the project, the two partners have pooled their expertise and worked together at every level. They had to prepare the site and its infrastructure, build the various units at facilities around the world, assemble them and install them on site. It took seven international engineering contractors, a number of Saudi companies and 370 million hours of work by almost 45,000 people to get the job done.

Training, a Core Focus

Now fully in operation, the refinery employs about 1,100 people. SATORP has committed to a workforce that will eventually be 85% Saudi. To reach that goal, the joint venture signed a partnership agreement with a major French public research, innovation and training center called Institut Français du Pétrole Énergies Nouvelles, or IFPEN. While 28 young Saudi engineers completed their program of study in France between 2010 and 2012, nearly 400 Saudi operators have already been trained on site. The young apprentices soaked up the knowledge and expertise of the IFPEN mentors and completed a number of internships at Saudi Aramco and Total sites. Since the launch of SATORP, a Job Qualifications Program has been created, and 150 employees (field operators, lead operators, shift supervisors and boardmen) have been trained.

Having teams from different cultures work together and doing your part to promote sustainable growth in host countries is also a way of making energy better.

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