Saudi Arabia ‘to import record volumes of diesel’

barrel saudi- L.C.Nøttaasen wikimediaSaudi Arabia is likely to import record volumes of diesel in summer 2013 as it gears up to meet the rising travel needs during the fasting month of Ramadan

State oil company Saudi Aramco said it will import up to 8.9mn barrels (bbl) of diesel in June 2013, up from an estimated 6.7mn to 7.5mn bbl in May, with the same volume or higher to be booked for July.

Saudi Arabia previously imported a record diesel volume of 8.99mn bbl in July 2011, government data published through the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.

An anonymous Gulf-based trader said, “I think this year the July 2011 number might be surpassed as Saudi Arabia’s diesel demand is growing every year.” 

Saudi Aramco relies heavily on imported diesel from India and Singapore in the summer months when the demand for electricity peaks with rising use of air conditioning.

To cut its imports, Saudi Aramco has planned three new refineries. The first of these - Jubail - is expected to produce 176,000 bpd of diesel and will come online in the second half of 2013.

Until the refinery, a joint venture with France’s Total and Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemicals Co.’s (SATORP), is at full capacity, Saudi Aramco will buy heavily to ensure it is covered for Ramadan, it claimed.

Another anonymous trader said, “The demand growth is higher compared to previous summers as there are several ongoing infrastructure expansion projects.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s petrol imports are expected to be around 4.5mn bbl in June 2013, which is about 45 per cent higher than the same period in 2012.

 

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