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Refining capacity to be increased.

SAUDI Aramco is working to expand its domestic refining capacity to meet growing local and global demand for refined products while taking advantage of the close proximity of feedstock by integrating petrochemical facilities with certain refineries.

Company refineries produce a wide range of petrochemicals, including propylene and polypropylene, low and high-density polyethylene, benzene, paraxylene and butadiene, says the company in its annual report for 2010.

The company also is developing associated industrial parks to convert petrochemical commodities into consumer goods, to create jobs and stimulate economic activity. The company moved forward on two major refinery projects in 2010 -- the Red Sea Refining Co (RSRC) and Jazan Refinery projects -- and also achieved significant success in producing reduced-sulphur fuel.

PROJECTS Satorp grass-roots refinery: Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co (Satorp), a joint-venture mega-project between Saudi Aramco and France's Total Oil Co, is building a 400,000-bpd grassroots, full-conversion refinery at Jubail II Industrial City on Saudi Arabia's east coast.

When completed, the refinery will produce products to meet growing domestic and world demand for environmentally friendly fuels. It will also be among the first refineries in the Middle East to produce petroleum coke.

Ras Tanura Refinery will install new units that

RSRC grass-roots refinery: In July 2010, Saudi Aramco's board of directors gave final approval for construction of a 400,000-bpd grassroots, full-conversion refinery at Yanbu Industrial City under the wholly owned subsidiary Red Sea Refining Company (RSRC).

The new refinery will process Arabian Heavy crude oil and produce products to supply the kingdom's demand for refined products and also export high quality products to the international market. In July, Saudi Aramco signed contracts with local and international contractors for detailed engineering, procurement and construction. Saudi Aramco is currently finalising discussion with a foreign partner to establish RSRC as a joint venture.

Jazan refinery and terminal: The 400,000-bpd semi-conversion refinery (producing light products and fuel oil) and marine terminal will meet local demand for refined products and efficiently satisfy utilities demands in the Western Region.

In addition, it will provide a primary foundation industry for the Jazan Economic City (JEC) development, which will encourage further development of the city and region. The refinery will be capable of processing Arabian Medium crude oil or a 50/50 mix of Arabian Heavy and Medium grades. The facility will be located in JEC and ultimately integrated with a power plant and water facility.

The grassroots marine terminal will have the capability to receive crude oil and refined products and to export refined products. Single point mooring (SPM) will be provided for offloading Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC); a subsea pipeline will carry oil from the SPM to the tank farm.

Two fixed berths will be provided for Aframax-rated product carriers. Work on the project began in 2011, and completion is projected for the first quarter of 2017.

PetroRabigh: For PetroRabigh, 2010 was a remarkable year, marked by its reaching full commercial operation and achieving its first full year of profitability, as well as exceeding the complex's 2009 operating capacity, production and sales.

Motiva expansion ... will help the refinery

The integrated refining and petrochemical complex on the Red Sea produced and marketed more than 112 million barrels of refined petroleum products in Saudi and international markets during the year, 29 per cent of which were exported; and nearly 2 million metric tonnes of petrochemicals, 94 per cent of which were exported.

Also during the year, PetroRabigh signed an agreement to provide propylene oxide and polyether polyol to Saudi Advanced Industries Co and National Manufacturing Co, for manufacturing polyurethane material used in producing furniture, and in automotive, construction and thermal insulation components.

Motiva expansion: Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture between Aramco's Houston-based affiliate Saudi Refining and Shell, is expanding its refinery at Port Arthur, Texas. Construction on the crude expansion project is progressing well in line with Motiva's expectations. Handover to operations is planned to start late 2011 with product in-tank in the first quarter of 2012.

A total of 322 processing modules were manufactured in the US and Mexico, and delivered to the site in 2010. Installation for nearly all of the units was completed by year-end, representing the largest module installation project ever undertaken onshore.

Additionally, all disciplines were fully active on site by year's end, and pre-commissioning plans were in full swing. When complete, the expansion will add 325,000 bpd of flexible complex-crude capacity (the capacity to process almost any type of crude oil), making Port Arthur the largest-capacity refinery in the US and one of the largest in the world, with a total throughput capacity of 600,000 bpd.

The incremental volume will process heavy sour and high-acid-content crudes, and improve profit margins. The project will also install a 75,000 bpd hydrocracker that has 55,000 bpd of gasoline/diesel flexibility to capture the highest margin available. Expansion of the refinery will enhance the company's ability to meet growing demand in North America.

Fujian refinery: Net income improved as refining margins increased in 2010 for Fujian Refining & Petrochemical Co Ltd (FRPC), which processed an average of 230,000 bpd of crude oil during the year. FREP produced more than 11 million tonnes of refined products in 2010, and more than 3 million tonnes of petrochemicals, exporting 7.1 million tonnes of products and 2.5 million tonnes of petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene.

Within China, FRPC sold nearly 4.2 million tonnes of products and 2.9 million tonnes of petrochemicals. The FRPC board during the year approved a study of an ethylene cracker expansion project.

Showa Shell: Saudi Aramco equity venture partner continued to pursue its expansion in the solar business, forming a subsidiary, Solar Frontier, to manage its solar activities.

As part of its efforts to expand its international presence, Solar Frontier opened two international offices -- one in Germany and one in California, in the US. In 2010, the company completed all structural work for the 900 MW per year manufacturing plant in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan, and started product testing at the facility. When fully operational, the plant will be one of the world's largest single thin-film solar technology manufacturing plants.

S-Oil: S-Oil, an Aramco Overseas Company equity venture in Korea, is expected to complete the Onsan refinery expansion project during 2011, after three years of planning, engineering, and construction.

In 2010, S-Oil developed its strategic framework, which included three strategic directions -- expanding its refining business, integrating petrochemicals, and entering into the new and renewable energy business to achieve profitable, sustainable growth.

During 2010, S-Oil continued to grow its product sales channels in Asia, including India, Japan and Australia, as part of its diversified marketing strategy. Further, the company's domestic light oil market share reached its highest level ever in December 2010.

Low-sulphur diesel: To help enhance the quality of domestic transportation fuels, Saudi Aramco in 2010 completed the construction of a new diesel hydro-treater plant at Ras Tanura refinery.

This project will enable the implementation of the second phase of the Saudi Aramco fuel quality roadmap, which aims by 2016 to supply ultra-low-sulphur (10 parts per million) diesel fuel for transportation and 500 ppm for utility fuel kingdom-wide to will help improve air quality. The first phase of the fuel quality roadmap was launched in 2007 after commissioning the hydrotreater plants at Yanbu and Riyadh refineries. With implementation of the second phase, sulphur in diesel will be reduced by 95 per cent.

Samref, Sasref clean fuels: The Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co (Sasref), a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Shell, completed a clean-fuels project in March 2010, producing 100,000 bpd of ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel (10 ppm), while the Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery (Samref) in Yanbu, a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil, is continuing to implement its Clean Fuels Project.

Samref intends to meet the kingdom's fuel specification requirements by reducing sulphur content in gasoline and diesel fuel to 10 ppm by December 2013.

Marafiq project: Saudi Aramco equity venture Marafiq Co, through its subsidiary Tawreed, launched commercial operations of the water desalination and electrical power mega-project in Jubail in 2010.

The plant is designed to produce 800,000 cubic metres of water per day and 2,750 MW of electricity.

It is the world's largest integrated power and water desalination project, representing about 10 per cent of current power generation capacity in Saudi Arabia.

Marafiq is also developing another project in Yanbu, on the west coast, to produce 60,000 cubic metres of water per day and about 750 MW of electricity by 2015.

Juaymah/Petrokemya spent caustic: A total cost avoidance of $1.5 million was realised from an agreement signed by Aramco's Juaymah NGL fractionation and Petrokemya petrochemical plants in Jubail to treat at Petrokemya facilities 400,000 gallons per year of generated spent caustic from the Juaymah plant. The agreement localised processing of the spent caustic, saved time and 79.2 per cent of processing costs, and streamlined administrative requirements.

CLEAN FUELS Saudi Aramco has implemented a clean transportation fuels (CTF) project that will install new equipment at the company's domestic refineries by 2015 to meet new gasoline and diesel products requirements.

The new equipment will position the refineries to produce gasoline and diesel fuel with ultra-low-sulphur (ULS) content, only 10 parts per million. These are equivalent or better quality grades than fuels distributed in North America and Europe.

This improvement will enable the use of advance emission-control technologies in light- and heavy-duty vehicles that will almost eliminate emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphuric oxide (SOx) and particulate matter that are linked to health problems. Besides producing ULS gasoline and diesel, the new equipment will also reduce benzene and aromatics content from the current level.

All of Saudi Aramco's wholly owned domestic refineries will be producing CTF gasoline. In addition, CTF diesel will be produced at Riyadh and Ras Tanura refineries, while Yanbu refinery will maintain its current production of low-sulphur (500 ppm) off-road utility diesel to meet local diesel-fuel demand.

Riyadh and Yanbu refineries will produce the new gasoline through the use of conventional refinery processing, while Ras Tanura refinery will go further in transitioning the refinery into a petrochemical feedstock producer.

The project at Ras Tanura refinery will install new units that will extract the aromatics from the gasoline and use them to produce benzene, toluene and paraxylene. The benzene and toluene, which can be used as solvents or industrial feedstock, will be used to support new petrochemical projects in the kingdom.

Paraxylene production will be exported for use in the growing worldwide polyester-based clothing industry. Domestic joint-venture refineries in Jubail and Yanbu', as well as the future Jazan refinery, also are installing equipment for the production of CTF gasoline and diesel from these facilities as well.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Date:Sep 26, 2011
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