Saudi Aramco’s focus in recent years has very clearly been on the major growth economies in East Asia. The four largest buyers of Saudi crude oil are all in Asia, and flows to the region keep on rising, with recent gains driven primarily by China’s seemingly endless thirst for more oil (MEES, 7 January). But this week the Saudi energy giant has signed two sizeable deals with European buyers, underlining that the kingdom still sees untapped potential in the continent.

The most notable deal is with Poland’s PKN Orlen, which is merging with its compatriot Grupa Lotos, and was announced on 12 January. Aramco has agreed to acquire a 30% stake in a 210,000 b/d refinery in Poland’s Baltic port city of Gdansk, which is operated by Grupa Lotos. PKN Orlen says Aramco will pay PLN1.15bn ($290mn), which values the refinery at around $970mn. As well as the refinery stake, Aramco says that it has also agreed to acquire “100% in an associated wholesale business; and 50% in a jet fuel marketing joint venture with BP.” (CONTINUED - 851 WORDS)