Yokogawa and SABIC Team Up for Petrochemical Process Optimization

December 26, 2019 by Kate Smith

Yokogawa teams with SABIC to provide process controls for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's largest petrochemical manufacturer.

Today, Yokogawa announced a partnership with SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) for "co-innovation" in petrochemical industries. Of particular note is the selection of Yokogawa as SABIC's "preferred supplier of control systems."

SABIC, a public company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is one of the largest petrochemical manufacturers in the world. Aside from petrochemicals, the company also operates in metals (coils, rebar, etc.), "specialties" (additive manufacturing, resins, etc.), and agri-nutrients (fertilizers, etc.).

This comes a day after SABIC released an announcement that the company reportedly added 6.1 billion Saudi Riyals (over $16 billion USD) to the Saudi GDP.


SABIC (represented by Mr. Abdullah M. Al-Garni (left)) and Yokogawa (represented by Mr. Koji Nakaoka (right)) with the signed agreements. Image used courtesy of Yokogawa


In 2006 and 2007, Yokogawa established a separate Saudi branch and service organization. Part of this initiative has been to establish an all-female engineering team to support female employment in Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, one of the goals of the partnership is to co-innovate digital controls technology and, in particular, energy optimization programs for sustainable industry.


Yokogawa's Petrochemical Process Optimization

Yokogawa offers several products and solutions for petrochemical applications:

  • Plant-wide automation
  • Asset-management systems
  • Harsh-environment CCTV systems for facility monitoring
  • Alarm-management systems
  • Data analytics (especially for meeting rigid environmental and safety regulations)
  • Field sensing and actuation 
  • FOUNDATION fieldbus instrumentation

Yokogawa presents each of these products with an emphasis on reliability, low maintenance, and "smart" capabilities such as self-diagnosis (wherein an end-node field instrument may report its own failure and analyze the cause). 


A simplified overview of Yokogawa's verticals in petrochemical processes for optimization. Image used courtesy of Yokogawa


Part of resource optimization that Yokogawa has been pursuing has been preventative maintenance, both time-based maintenance (TBM) and condition-based maintenance (CBM), which can reduce downtime and maintenance costs.

Many of these concepts are wrapped into Yokogawa's plant automation program, named VigilantPlant. Yokogawa's focus for petrochemical solutions are high levels of integration, reliability assurance (or "utmost system availability" as Yokogawa calls it in their promotional copy), and customization as facilities in the petrochemical processing space vary in their needs.

Other companies that have worked with Yokogawa with these systems include Nippon Petrochemicals, CNOOC Limited, and Shell Norco.



Last month, ABB announced that they would be providing an integrated control system for a new greenfield SABIC chemical plant. What today's new announcement from Yokogawa means for the future of ABB's partnership with SABIC is yet to be seen. It's common for manufacturing facilities to partner with multiple control system providers, however, and today's announcement termed Yokogawa as a "preferred" control provider, leaving room for SABIC to work with multiple providers in their many facilities. 

Do you have personal experience with designing control systems for petrochemical applications? Share your perspective on this news in the comments below.


Featured image used courtesy of Yokogawa.