July 24, 2008

Rabigh Gasoline Unit Expected to Come on-Line By October 2008

The new 60,000-barrel-per-day gasoline unit at the Rabigh refinery in Saudi Arabia is expected to come on-line between September 2008 and October 2008. The refinery is part of the $10 billion PetroRabigh petrochemical complex being jointly developed by Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical, according to Reuters.

The PetroRabigh refinery's capacity will be increased to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) following the beginning of operations at the new gasoline unit.

The news source reported that the Rabigh complex was capable of producing all varieties of oil products except for gasoline, before this expansion project. The gasoline produced from the new unit is expected to satisfy domestic demand, while exports are not being ruled out.

Fuel oil traders have expressed fears that the new gasoline unit will result in decreased fuel oil output, which currently accounts for 38% of the refinery's produce and also supplies a major portion of fuel for power generation in Saudi Arabia.

The upgraded PetroRabigh petrochemical complex is expected to produce 18.4 million tonnes of oil products, 1.3 million tonnes of ethylene and 90,000 tonnes of propylene annually, reported Reuters.