Houston-based KBR has landed a contract for front-end engineering and design for the planned crude oil-to-chemicals complex in Saudi Arabia.

KBR will also manage the $20-billion project, set to be the largest oil-to-chemicals facility in the world, the project's developers, Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), said April 26. The contract includes finalizing the project scope, selecting technology providers and updating the project economics.

It is the second FEED contract for the facility. In March, Saudi Aramco and SABIC awarded Wood Group a contract to provide pre-FEED, FEED and project management services during the project's engineering, procurement and construction phase.

Awarding the second management contract to KBR is a major milestone in Saudi Arabia's effort to increase its chemical production, said Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco president and chief executive officer.

"We understand the strategic importance of the long-term investment that Saudi Aramco and SABIC are undertaking in this project and the pivotal role that KBR will have in the overall success of this important program," said Stuart Bradie, KBR president and CEO.

The crude-oil-to-chemicals complex, at a site yet to be determined, is expected to process 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day to produce about 9 million tons of chemicals and base oils annually. Saudi Aramco and SABIC aim to have the facility operating in 2025. The project is part of Saudi Arabia's effort to diversify its economy.