Total, Aramco delay Jubail refinery project

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 25 -- Total SA said the award of construction tenders for its $10 billion Jubail refinery joint venture with Saudi Aramco has been delayed because of uncertainties in global financial markets.

The partners, Aramco 62.5% and Total 37.5%, previously said tenders to build the 400,000 b/d facility would be awarded in first-quarter 2009. The French firm said the award of construction contracts would be set back by at least 3 months.

Last week, in a related development, Aramco said it cancelled a contract awarded in July to Saipem subsidiary Snamprogetti for development of Manifa oil field offshore (OGJ Online, Nov. 19, 2008).

Oil from Manifa was intended for the Jubail refinery, according to Jean-Jacques Mosconi, Total's senior vice-president for strategy and development.

In June, Mosconi told the European Fuels Conference that the Jubail refinery would process Arab Heavy and a new grade from Manifa oil field, which was scheduled to begin production in 2011.

"About 70-80% of Manifa will go to Jubail," Mosconi told the conference delegates, adding that distillate products produced at the complex refinery would be exported, mostly to Europe, while some would be shipped to Asia.

The decision to delay the Jubail refinery follows an earlier announcement by Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhillips to delay the bidding process for construction of a similar 400,000 b/d oil refinery at Yanbu (OGJ, Nov. 17, 2008, p. 29).

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