Upgrade Saudi Rabigh refinery expected to finish in 2002
Saudi Aramco's planned $ 1.79 bn upgrade of its Rabigh refinery will not be completed before the end of November
2002. The six-year construction schedule is significantly longer than previous estimates which had assumed a
completion target for the project in the year 2000. The project aims to increase the Red Sea plant's gasoline and
kerosene yields and reduce heavy product yields. Some 280,000 bpd of Saudi crude is run at the plant, well below
design capacity of 325,000 bpd because of the plant's configuration and large surplus fuel oil output.
Planned work includes the construction of a 172,000 bpd crude vacuum distillation unit, a 55,000 bpd continuous catalytic naphtha reformer with hydrotreater and 100,000 bpd of hydrocracking capacity. First phase of the Rabigh plant was launched in November when Aramco invited four prequalified contractors to bid for a contract to provide management services for the project. Aramco is not expected to award the main engineering, procurement and construction packages until final expenditure is secured in November 1998. This implies start up of actual construction work in early 1999.