Saud Aramco Shell Refining Company (Sasref) has started production at its new $300m low-sulphur diesel plant at the Jubail refining complex.

The plant has been under construction since late 2006 and was scheduled for completion in late 2009. It is designed to produce 116,000 barrels-a-day (b/d) of diesel with a sulphur content of 10 parts per million (ppm), according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

The joint venture partners behind the Sasref scheme, UK/Dutch Shell Group and local state energy giant Saudi Aramco, announced they had started production at the plant in a 13 March statement. The plant was built by the US’ CB&I Lummus.

The project is part of a wider Aramco development to produce more clean fuels in the kingdom. The company has embarked on the multi-billion-dollar scheme to reduce sulphur content to meet US environmental regulations on petrol imports that come into force in 2013 (MEED 28:3:08).

In February, Sasref awarded an estimated $100m deal to Japan’s JGC Corporation to build a second phase low sulphur diesel unit at Jubail (MEED 9:2:10).

In April 2009, Australia’s WorleyParsons won a $400m contract to cut the sulphur content of fuels produced at Aramco’s joint venture refining complex with the US’ ExxonMobil at Yanbu on the Red Sea coast.

Aramco also plans to roll out ultra-low sulphur diesel facilities at its Riyadh and Jeddah refineries by 2012.