Cash-Rich Gulf State Refiners Seek Overseas Capacity, Integration

State refiners Aramco, Adnoc and KNPC are seeking access to overseas fuels markets and integration with petchems. But, with global downstream investment rising, they are not alone.

State-owned petroleum firms in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait are part of a global oil push further downstream, in a bid to squeeze more value out of their crude oil resources. In particular, Aramco has already invested in export refineries and Adnoc and KNPC are following suit.

The three firms are also looking to integrate petrochemicals capacity with their refineries, both domestically and overseas, with a view to cashing in on strong growth in petrochemicals demand across the manufacturing sector, particularly in Asia.

Much of the rise in Gulf refinery throughputs to date has been in response to increased demand for transport fuels in particular. Gulf refining capacity currently stands at 8.18mn b/d, while refinery throughputs have risen from 5.41mn b/d in 2009 to a record 7.18mn b/d in 2017 (see charts).


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