New Delhi: Saudi Aramco is already the world’s top crude oil exporter and is now set to add another feather to its hat — it may soon also be the biggest consumer of crude oil. Over a third of Aramco’s oil currently goes to its fully-owned and joint venture refineries, as per the brand prospectus. Aramco also plans to double its refining network and push refining to 10 million barrels per day by 2030, a report by Bloomberg said.
The move is aimed at turning Aramco into a “reliable destination for its future oil production,” said John Stewart, an analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. The planned expansion would make it “the biggest refiner in the world by some margin,” said Stewart.
Saudi Arabia aiming to break its reliance on oil economy
Aramco’s deep pockets could then be used by Saudi Arabia to build its sovereign wealth fund and develop new industries that can break the kingdom’s reliance on oil. Aramco is trying to bolster its profits accrued from the crude by turning it into gasoline and diesel as well as plastics and other materials used in consumer goods.
The company is also shelling a total of $69 billion for a majority stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp.
Aramco will continue to sell to buyers outside
The state-owned oil company is going to continue selling to outside buyers even after it hits the refining target. Aramco owns three refineries in Saudi Arabia, the Motiva Enterprises LLC plant in the US and has joint ventures with foreign partners elsewhere. By the end of the year, it is expected to start crude processing at new facilities in Saudi Arabia and in Malaysia that would push its refining capacity to more than half of the country’s total crude oil production. According to WoodMac, half of Aramco’s refining facilities will be located outside of Saudi Arabia by 2030.