Jubail refinery set to welcome first export vessel
Jubail, Saudi Arabia, September 23, 2013
The first vessel to export fuel products from Total's 400,000-barrels-per-day Jubail refinery in Saudi Arabia is due to arrive at the plant on Monday, the group's chief financial officer said.
Parts of the Aramco-Total complex have 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.
The first 200,000-bpd crude distillation unit (CDU) is operational but the other has yet to start up, a source close to the matter said.
"The vessel is due to arrive today," chief financial officer Patrick de La Chevardiere said at the group's investor day in London. He gave no details on the vessel's destination or the size of the shipment.
The multi-billion-dollar project is central to Saudi plans for boosting refining production to meet the region's growing demand, and is expected to replace most imports by 2014.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month that Aramco would offer up to 80,000 tonnes of fuel oil for export in late September and that Total would likely have one or two cargoes available by the end of the month.
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, a move traders say will dramatically alter the market by pushing Indian diesel out of Europe and into Asia. - Reuters