Jubail refinery plans to offer first product
Singapore/Khobar, September 11, 2013
Saudi Arabia's giant Jubail refinery plans to offer its first product in September as the joint venture with France's Total starts up operations that will reshape global trade flows, traders said on Tuesday.
The more than $8.5 billion project is the centre piece in Riyadh's plans to boost refining production to meet the region's growing demand, and is expected to replace most import requirements by 2014.
The country is expected to become a major exporter to Asia, Africa and Europe over the next five years, according to analysts.
State-run Saudi Aramco is planning to offer a cargo of high sulphur fuel oil and another of naphtha in September and one cargo of gasoil in October, traders and sources close to the matter said.
All the products are likely to be of high sulphur grade as secondary refining units are not yet operational. The cargoes would most likely be sold into the Asian market, traders said.
The 400,000 barrels per day refinery has in recent months begun a gradual start up and is expected to reach full capacity by the end of the year.
"They haven't started commissioning, it can happen any time, very soon," an industry source based in the Gulf said.
A source close to the venture said the market will see meaningful supplies by the end of the year.
Though some of the refinery units were already operational, it was unclear when it would fully launch commercial operations. - Reuters