Aramco, Total see Jubail refinery exports from Sept
Khobar, September 12, 2013
Saudi Arabia's 400,000 barrel per day Jubail refinery has started operations and will export its first oil products cargo this month, Saudi Aramco's joint venture with France's Total said on Thursday.
"Start-up is progressing as per the plan. Production has started from the refinery and first shipment will be exported by end of September. Further shipments will follow as per the start-up schedule and the production plan," the company said in a statement.
Parts of the complex have been started up over the last few months and the giant refinery is expected to reach full capacity by the end of the year.
Jubail will refine Saudi heavy crude into a range of fuels - from gasoline to petroleum coke - for domestic consumption and export.-Reuters
The first 200,000 bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) is already operational but the other has yet to start up, a source close to the matter said.
The multi-billion dollar project is central to Saudi plans to boost refining production to meet the region's growing demand, and is expected to replace most imports by 2014.
Analysts expect new refineries to turn the world's largest crude oil exporter into a major refined products supplier to Asia, Africa and Europe over the next five years.
Aramco will offer up to 80,000 tonnes of fuel oil for export in late September and Total will also likely have one or two cargoes available by the end of the month, the source said.
The joint venture is looking to export an ultra-low sulfur diesel cargo of possibly 10 parts per million (ppm) in October, the source added.
The refinery will produce mostly gasoline and gasoil for domestic use. It is not expected to export any jet fuel this year but may produce some next year, depending on demand.
Most of the exported diesel is expected to be shipped to Europe, which traders say will dramatically alter the market by pushing Indian diesel out of Europe and into Asia.
The refinery is configured to run on heavy crude oil. But two industry sources said the refinery had not received any of the heavy crude expected from Aramco's new Manifa field and that it was running instead on light crude. Aramco said in April that it had started production at Manifa.-Reuters