By SUMMER SAID and GERALDINE AMIEL
Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co., known as Satorp, said Thursday it has started operations at its 400,000bpd refinery in Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia and will export its first cargo this month.
"Start-up is progressing as per the plan. Production is starting from the refinery and first shipment will be exported before the end of September," the company said in an emailed statement. "Further to this first shipment, other products will be exported as per the start-up schedule and the production plan."
Satorp, 62.5% owned by state-giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, with the rest held by French oil company Total, was initially expected to be fully operational during the third quarter of 2013. But Total CEO Christophe de Margerie said in April that the refinery will start operating at full capacity by the end of the year.
The refinery complex is estimated to cost about $14 billion to build and is part of a drive by the world's top oil exporter to boost refining capacity.
In December, Satorp said it will double its capital to 7.12 billion Saudi riyals ($1.95 billion) in the first quarter of 2013 to fund the refinery. The capital increase was paid in cash by shareholders in proportion to their stakes and didn't change ownership levels.
Dow Jones Newswires