Aramco, Exxon to shut most of Yanbu refinery in March

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(Image for illustrative purposes).

(Image for illustrative purposes).

Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery Company (SAMREF) will shut most of the units at its 400,000 barrel per day (bpd) Yanbu refinery in March to bring a new cleaner fuel project online, traders said on Monday.

The outage planned by the joint venture between state oil company Saudi Aramco and US energy giant ExxonMobil is expected to start on March 10 and last for 45-50 days, traders and an industry source said.

"Most of the refinery will be down for upgrade to bring the clean fuel project on stream," one of the sources said.

The world's two largest energy companies have invested US$2.5bn to upgrade the facility on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia to produce cleaner fuels. The refinery mostly exports gasoil and gasoline.

There has been a shift in the Middle Eastern refineries to produce cleaner fuel as they want to target export markets.

Saudi Aramco Total Refinery and Petrochemicals Company (SATORP), the joint venture that owns the Jubail refinery built by Aramco and France's Total, will also produce cleaner fuels.

OPEC member United Arab Emirates is also in the process of expanding its Ruwais refinery with a view to producing ultra-low sulphur diesel and sell to export markets.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is likely to start offering 10 ppm diesel to its customers next year.

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