Saudi Aramco to Become World’s Top Oil Refiner, Al-Falih Says

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude exporter, also expects to become the top producer of refined products such as fuel and petrochemicals, according to Khalid al-Falih, the company’s chief executive.

“In the years to come, we will become the world’s single largest oil refiner,” al-Falih said at a conference in Beijing today.

Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, is expanding refining and petrochemical production to meet domestic demand and export products that can fetch higher prices than crude. It plans to double its global refining capacity to 8 million barrels a day in 10 years, al-Falih said in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran in January 2012. Exxon Mobil Corp. the world’s largest integrated crude processor, had 5.4 million barrels a day of capacity worldwide at the end of 2012, according to its financial and operating review.

Aramco’s Satorp plant, 37.5 percent owned by Paris-based Total SA, is set to become Saudi Arabia’s largest facility on the Persian Gulf with an overseas partner when it starts this year. The refinery in Jubail on the coast will be able to process 400,000 barrels of Arab Heavy crude a day. The companies have also agreed in principle to expand the plant, Christophe De Margerie, Total’s chief executive, said in Abu Dhabi Jan. 15.

Aramco has finalized negotiations with Pertamina Persero PT to build an $8 billion refinery in Indonesia with a capacity of 300,000 barrels a day, the Saudi Gazette newspaper reported Feb. 5, citing Indonesian Industry Minister Mohammed Hidayat.

— With assistance by Sarah Chen, and Ramsey Al-Rikabi

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