Saudi Arabia Taking Control Of America’s Largest Oil Refinery

The crown jewel amongst America’s oil refiners might soon be owned by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Aramco, the state oil firm of OPEC’s most powerful player, not too long ago introduced plans to take full management of the sprawling Port Arthur, Texas refinery. The Gulf Coast facility is the largest refinery within the U.S. and might course of 600,000 barrels of oil a day.

Inside the tower and packing

Port Arthur has great strategic worth, particularly given the American oil boom that has eased U.S. appetite for overseas oil.

It would give the Saudis complete control over the refinery. They may then likely convey extra of their very own crude oil into the U.S. for refining and selling in the North American market.

“Saudi Arabia would have an anchor tenant for much of their crude oil production,” said Tom Kloza, global head of power analysis at the Oil Worth Information Service. “Port Arthur is the jewel the Saudis would like.”

Final year Port Arthur made headlines for becoming a member of a nationwide worker strike over security concerns. The worker unrest followed an in depth 5-yr makeover at Port Arthur that was completed in 2012 and doubled the power’s capability.

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Expensive break-up hints at Aramco IPO

Saudi Aramco already owns half of the Port Arthur refinery together with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) by means of a joint enterprise known as Motiva Enterprises. But the two oil giants have had a contentious relationship for a few years. Last week they introduced a letter of intent to interrupt up Motiva.

As part of the tentative deal, Shell will achieve control of two Motiva refineries in Louisiana and nine distribution terminals. Saudi Aramco would get Port Arthur as well as 26 distribution terminals and the license to the Shell model for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas.

“It is a very costly divorce,” said Kloza, including that the 2 events weren’t all the time on the same web page.

That is sensible given the actual fact Shell and Aramco have completely different sources of oil. Whereas the Saudis would most likely favor Port Arthur to course of its own oil shipped from the Middle East, Shell is pumping tons of oil from the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Motiva break-up may be an early step towards Saudi Aramco’s plans to go public. In January Saudi Arabia mentioned it is considering promoting shares of the state-owned oil large.

Kloza stated Motiva may very well be among the primary belongings spun off from Aramco, which controls an unimaginable 261 billion barrels of confirmed reserves in Saudi Arabia — or roughly 15% of the world’s complete.

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Another layer in advanced U.S.-Saudi relationship

The Port Arthur deal could solely add to the complex and generally-awkward energy relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

On the one hand, Saudi Arabia has long been a supply of oil for America. The U.S. imported 1.2 million barrels of Saudi oil per day as of the top of February, according to the U.S. Energy Data Administration. That is practically twice as a lot because the 12 months before.

But U.S. output of its personal oil has nearly doubled over the past decade, creating an epic provide glut. And OPEC, led by the Saudis, has refused to cut manufacturing to prevent costs from crashing.

That is hurt the American oil business, which is in a extreme downturn.

But the Saudis have continued pumping aggressively in an effort to squeeze excessive-value producers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Port Arthur deal will give the Saudis one other avenue for their crude.

“It seems like a relatively astute move by the Saudis. It’s a sign of how much they want to keep a foothold within the U.S.,” stated Matthew Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

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