By SUMMER SAID
Saudi Arabia's 400,000 bpd refinery and terminal in Jazan on the Red Sea will be completed within four years, the kingdom's oil minister Ali al-Naimi has said, indicating a delay in the long expected mega plant.
"We are now working on building a huge industrial project in the Jazan region that will include an advanced refinery, which will be completed within four years," Mr. Naimi said in speech published by the official Saudi Press Agency."
Saudi Aramco said in 2012 the complex was scheduled to be completed in late 2016. It has signed engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the project.
However, industry sources have said the refinery is facing some delays in the infrastructure.
The Jazan refinery will provide refined products for the domestic market, which is facing rapidly rising demand. The marine terminal will have the capacity to handle very large crude carriers for the supply of crude oil to the refinery, and berths to support refined product exports from the refinery.
The project was initially due to be implemented by the Saudi government as a private sector initiative but, after generating limited interest, was handed over to Aramco.
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy, has seen its domestic energy requirements surge in recent years as the government spent oil revenues on new industries and infrastructure to diversify the local economy and as the kingdom's population grows.
Aramco, top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, plans to invest $35 billion over the next five years in crude oil exploration and development in a bid to keep its oil production portfolio robust, the firm's chief executive, Khalid al-Falih, said last year.
Dow Jones Newswires