Saudi Overseas Refining In Flux: Spat Over US Break-Up Amid China Push

Aramco faces tough talks with partner Shell over split of US refining JV Motiva. Progress in Indonesia and Korea and talks in China suggest a further shift east.

Saudi state petroleum giant Aramco has equity in 2.4mn b/d of overseas refining capacity in addition to the 2.9mn b/d the company and its partners operate within the kingdom. While Aramco’s domestic refining operations are proceeding smoothly, overseas plans are in flux.

Indications emerged this week of a potential problem with the planned break-up of the Motiva joint venture in the US, which Aramco and equal partner Shell announced in March. Shell has asked Aramco for up to $2bn of cash to compensate for an uneven split of the assets, according to Reuters.

Under the proposed split, Aramco will take over the 600,000 b/d Port Arthur refinery in Texas – the largest in North America – while Shell will take full ownership of the 235,000 b/d Norco and 230,000 b/d Convent refineries, which are located around 35 miles from each other in Louisiana.


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