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Maintenance work at Saudi Arabia’s 126,000 b/d Riyadh refinery is scheduled to conclude any day now. It started on 1 March and was scheduled to last for 80 days ( MEES, 3 March ). The work includes the construction of new isomerization, naphtha-splitting and diesel hydrotreater units and is slated to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline and diesel. Riyadh is the kingdom’s only inland refinery and receives crude via Petroline (see p8 ).
Assuming maintenance work is completed on time, the resultant ramp up of refinery runs could lead to crude oil being diverted away from exports. This is especially the case as domestic demand is set to increase seasonally in the coming months. Power stations traditionally burn more crude oil in the summer to meet heightened electricity demand from air conditioning. Crude burn is on track to fall for a second consecutive year thanks to increased gas demand, but still rises seasonally.
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