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Saudi Arabia to Process Oil Locally to Avoid Volatile Prices

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, plans to process more crude into fuels and petrochemicals in the coming years, its oil minister said.

Refining more crude domestically will help diversify the kingdom’s income away from volatile prices, Ali al-Naimi said in a speech in the Persian Gulf coastal city of Jubail.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is expanding its refining capacity to meet domestic demand and increase exports of oil products that fetch higher prices than crude. Refining capacity will rise to 3.46 million barrels a day in 2016 from 2.26 million barrels, according to a company presentation in October.

Brent crude rose to $128.40 a barrel on March 1 and traded at as little as $98.74 on Aug. 9. Futures were at $123.93 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at 8:37 a.m. local time.

To contact the reporters on this story: Wael Mahdi in Cairo at wmahdi@bloomberg.net; Anthony DiPaola in Dubai at adipaola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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