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SAUDI ARABIA - The Jeddah Refinery.

Modernisation of this plant had been considered since the mid-1990s, when a state-owned refining and distribution company, Samarec, put forward an $8 bn proposal to upgrade and expand all the domestic refineries. But Samarec was eventually absorbed by Saudi Aramco. In 1996, one of the Jeddah refinery's 45,000 b/d crude oil distillation units was put out of action, cutting its useable capacity to 45,000 b/d. A contract was awarded in March 1994 to ACEC, the local unit of Stone & Webster, to provide detailed designs for upgrading the plant's FCC. In late October 1994, the Dammam-based Mohammed al-Moajil Group got the contract to upgrade and recondition the FCC.

This plant is 75% owned by Saudi Aramco and the rest is owned by the private sector. It came on stream in 1968 with capacity of 12,000 b/d. It was developed initially by private businessmen grouped in the Saudi Arabian Refinery Co. (Sarco). But before the plant was completed the Jeddah Oil Refinery Co. was created by royal decree (see Vol. 57, DT No. 14).

The refinery feeds an adjacent lube oil plant. But since its construction, the refinery has been surrounded by a rapidly growing city and now it poses a serious environmental problem. Saudi Aramco has considered proposals to close or relocate both the refinery and the lube oil plant.

Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery (Samref): A 50-50 JV with ExxonMobil, Samref is an export refinery with a capacity of 400,000 b/d located at Yanbu'. It produces top quality gasoil/diesel and other premium fuels. Its original design capacity was 250,000 b/d. Samref has upgraded and expanded its units, in a programme which will eventually raise its design capacity to 450,000 b/d. The project will include a propylene plant.

The refinery came on stream in mid-1984 and was inaugurated in September that year. Originally a JV between Petromin and Mobil, called Pemref, the state's 50% came under Saudi Aramco's control in 1993 after the absorption of Samarec (see in Vol. 57, No. 14).

The refinery's 79,000 b/d catalytic cracker went down in late July 2003 which prompted Samref to shut a 43,000 b/d reformer for safety reasons. The problem caused Saudi Aramco to import unleaded gasoline from the Rotterdam spot market. Spot prices of unleaded gasoline and low-sulphur gasoil/diesel rose as a result. But the units were reopened in August 2003. This refinery has been the source of clear diesel and other fuels to Europe, with some of its output going to the US market.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:Oct 3, 2005
Words:430
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