Aramco to Venture Into Non-Saudi Crude Trading

Aramco trades around 1.5 million bpd of refined, liquid chemical and polymer products.Aramco trades around 1.5 million bpd of refined, liquid chemical and polymer products.

Saudi Aramco’s trading arm will start dealing with non-Saudi crude oil to mainly feed its international joint ventures, as the world’s largest oil exporter seeks to optimize profits, industry sources familiar with the move said.

The expansion into crude comes as Saudi Aramco is working to boost its valuation ahead of the planned listing of up to 5% of its shares on one or more international stock exchange next year, in what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering, Reuters reported.

Set up in 2012 to market refined products, base oils and bulk petrochemicals, Aramco Trading Company will expand into crude to mainly feed international Aramco joint ventures like the Motiva refinery in the US and S-Oil in South Korea, the sources said.

The Saudi Aramco ventures abroad buy a certain portion of non-Saudi crude for better economics and crude specifications, the sources said. Motiva’s 603,000-barrels-per-day Port Arthur Refinery in Texas became a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco on May 1 after Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell ended a 20-year refining partnership.

“Rather than that Motiva for example goes into the market and buy non-Saudi crude, Aramco Trading now can supply those barrels,” said one source with knowledge of Aramco’s strategy.

The unit of Saudi Aramco trades around 1.5 million barrels a day of refined, liquid chemical and polymer products, according to its website. ATC opened its first office abroad in Singapore in 2015 to market oil products and win new business for the parent company from Asia.

ATC has been trading higher volumes in derivatives markets since late 2014, as Saudi Arabia flipped from a net diesel importer to an exporter of the fuel as Saudi Aramco expands its global refining footprint.

Middle East oil producers are venturing into buying and selling oil to boost their incomes, as a sharp drop in crude prices since mid-2014 has forced the industry to become more efficient and commercially focused.


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