|Saudi Arabia to double its oil refining capacity|
|Saudi Arabia plans to double its oil refining capacity to six million barrels per day (bpd) within five years, Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said Tuesday. The OPEC kingpin's "main goal is the stability of world oil markets. It is currently working on huge oil projects, including raising crude oil production capacity and doubling the capacity of oil refineries to six million bpd within the next five years," the state SPA news agency quoted him as saying.
Nuaimi made his remarks during a meeting with visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.
Riyadh's objective is to "meet the world's increasing demand for oil," Nuaimi said.
Nawaf Obaid, managing director of Saudi National Security Assessment Project, a government consultancy, told an oil conference in September the kingdom has earmarked $20 billion for the upgrade project.
The program would boost the capacity of eight refineries Riyadh owns inside and outside Saudi Arabia within five years, besides building new refineries locally and abroad, he said.
The Saudi and Dutch ministers discussed the importance of ensuring secure oil supplies and cooperation between their two countries in oil matters, including joint investments, SPA said.
Saudi Arabia currently has a refining capacity of around 3 million bpd through facilities both at home and overseas, of which around 2 million bpd are produced in the kingdom.
The Gulf kingdom plans to hike its output capacity from the current 11 million bpd to 12.5 million bpd in 2009.
Amman,02 21 2006
The Daily Star