• Refinery to be decommissioned
  • Nearby marine terminal could be affected
  • Lost capacity could be taken up by Yanbu facility

Saudi Aramco is planning to close its wholly owned Jeddah refinery, which has been in operation since 1967, in a move that could have serious repercussions for many adjacent facilities.

Plans are being put into place that would see the 100,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) refinery close and be completely decommissioned and the land being eventually reallocated. The reasons behind the move are understood to be that the age of the complex makes rehabilitation prohibitively expensive.

“[Aramco] has been weighing up its options for some time with regard to the Jeddah refinery,” says an oil and gas source based in Saudi Arabia. “Now it seems that a decision has been made.”

It has not yet been confirmed how the closure will affect the marine terminal adjacent to the complex. The terminal, which can handle up to 450,000 b/d of refined products in peak season and has eight berths, is expected to also be decommissioned.

Other issues that will need to be addressed include the provision of power, fresh water and fire water provision to adjacent facilities such as the Luberef refinery.

Another issue is how Aramco will replace the 100,000 b/d capacity of the refinery.  Options being considered include a plan to expand the capacity of Aramco’s wholly owned refinery in Yanbu.

MEED reported in July 2014 that Aramco was mulling two long-term options for Yanbu. The first options would be the construction of a new refinery with a capacity of 285,000 b/d. The facility would be a greenfield scheme and be built in Yanbu’s industrial zone although the exact location of any new refinery scheme has not yet been established.

The second option would be a complete rehabilitation of Aramco’s wholly owned refinery that is already in operation in the city. The refinery has been operational since 1983 and has a capacity of 225,000 b/d. According to the Saudi Aramco website, the refinery’s offtake of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] and fuel oil predominantly services the local market.

Saudi Aramco was unavailable for comment when contacted by MEED.

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