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Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

Saudi Arabia

Petroleum Refining Capacity, Production, Consumption, and Exports

Total refining capacity in the kingdom grew from fewer than 700,000 bpd in 1980 to roughly 1.9 million bpd in 1990. The significant capacity expansions during the 1980s were associated with the construction of three refineries: the Petromin/Mobil plant at Yanbu, which added 250,000 bpd; the 250,000 bpd Petromin/Shell plant at Al Jubayl; and the 325,000 bpd refinery at Rabigh. An 80,000-bpd increase to Saudi Arabia's largest refinery at Eas Tanura (530,000-bpd capacity after the increase), completed by 1987, also contributed to the overall increase. Damage to Saudi Arabia's refineries during the Persian Gulf War reduced capacity at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura refinery and at the AOC and Getty refineries in the Divided Zone. Total refining capacity during 1991 averaged 1.6 million bpd, but repairs during 1992 helped restore overall refinery capacity to 1.8 million bpd.

Domestic refined output grew steadily with the capacity expansions during the 1980s and early 1990s. Total production of refined petroleum averaged 1.2 million bpd in 1985, growing to more than 1.7 million bpd by 1990, representing an average capacity use of 84 percent in 1985 and 93 percent in 1990. The bulk of refined product output was naphtha and diesel oil; however, output of gasoline and lighter product grades grew more rapidly during the 1980s. This trend indicated both the construction of more sophisticated refineries and the upgrade of existing plants. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia's refining capacity was of fairly low quality.

Domestic consumption of refined products grew rapidly in the first half of the 1980s. With economic retrenchment, however, consumption growth slowed markedly in the latter half of the 1980s. From 460,000 bpd in 1980, domestic consumption rose to 630,000 bpd by 1985 and stagnated at that level until military consumption during the Persian Gulf War boosted domestic demand to 840,000 bpd during 1991. A fall in consumption to 700,000 bpd was anticipated in 1992. Saudi Arabia became a major exporter of refined products after 1985. From a modest level of exports of 290,000 bpd in 1985, refined product sales reached 734,000 bpd in 1990 before falling to 610,000 bpd as a result of output retained domestically to fuel the foreign forces in the kingdom. A large proportion of exports have been directed to Asian markets, of which Japan alone accounted for one-third of Samarec's overseas sales.

Data as of December 1992