(Reuters) – State oil giant Saudi Aramco is considering whether to close its 90,000 barrel per day crude oil refinery in Jeddah after several years because of age and environmental concerns, industry sources said.
The refinery, which started operating in 1967, serves much of the country’s western region and its closure would increase demand at other Saudi facilities. It produces liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, asphalt and jet fuel, and exports naphtha.
Aramco was originally considering whether to close it in 2018 but now looks likely to postpone the closure to as late as 2022 because of growing domestic demand for oil products and since construction of a new refinery at Jizan, also on the Red Sea coast, has been delayed, said one source.
Another said Jeddah’s growth had left the refinery in the middle of the city, which created environmental issues that contributed to a likely decision to close it.
The sources declined to be named because they were not authorised to talk to media. In response to questions by Reuters, Aramco said on Sunday that it had no information to release at this time. (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Andrew Torchia)