Oil major Total is considering expanding the capacity of its joint-venture refinery with Saudi Aramco by 10 per cent, according to an executive from the French company.

Phase one of the Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical (Satorp) project was completed in 2012 with a nameplate capacity of 400,000 barrels a day (b/d).

“The refinery has been a great success. We are now considering expanding by 10 per cent because we are already producing more than the nominal capacity,” Total’s dead of refining and petrochemicals Philippe Sauquet told reporters at the CERAWeek conference in Houston.

The decision for the expansion, which is estimated to take more than a year, is expected to be made in the next six months.

Satorp had planned to carry out a much-larger phase two of the project to build a mixed-feed hydrocracker to produce petrochemicals at the site in Jubail.

However, the scheme remains at the study phase. New petrochemicals projects in Saudi Arabia have been facing difficulties receiving gas allocations due to a lack of surplus in domestic natural gas supply.