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Tue 6 Mar 2012 02:49 PM

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Saudi Arabia plans to process more oil locally

Move will help world's largest expert avoid volatile prices

Saudi Arabia plans to process more oil locally
Refining more crude domestically will help diversify the kingdom’s income away from volatile pricesr. (Getty Images)

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 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 3.46m barrels a day in 2016 from 2.26 million barrels, according to a company presentation in October.

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

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