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Saudi Arabia Oil Exports and Shipping
in-en.com  2012-5-4 10:07:27  

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Saudi Arabia is the world's largest (net) oil exporter and is a key oil supplier to the United States, Europe and Asia. 

Saudi Arabia exported an estimated 7.3 million bbl/d of petroleum liquids in 2009 (7.5 million bbl/d in 2010), the majority of which was crude oil. Asia now receives an estimated 55 percent of Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports, as well as the majority of its refined petroleum product and natural gas liquids (NGL) exports.

In 2009, Saudi Arabia exported an average of 1 million bbl/d of petroleum liquids to the United States, (down from (1.5 million bbl/d in 2008) accounting for 9 percent of total U.S. petroleum imports. For this time period, Saudi Arabia ranked fourth after Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela as a petroleum exporter to the United States. Other major Saudi customers in 2009 included Japan (1.2 million bbl/d), South Korea (850,000 bbl/d), and China (839,000 bbl/d).

In January 2010, Saudi Aramco changed the benchmark that it uses for pricing crude oil exports to the United States. Saudi Aramco had used the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price since 1994, but will switch to the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI), in part because the ASCI is viewed as being more representative of the U.S. Gulf Coast sour crude market.

Major Ports

Saudi Arabia has three primary oil export terminals:

• The Ras Tanura complex has approximately 6 million bbl/d capacity, and the world's largest offshore oil loading facility. It includes the 2.5-million bbl/d port at Ras Tanura. More than 75 percent of exports are loaded at the Ras Tanura Facility. • The 3 to 3.6-million bbl/d Ras al-Ju'aymah facility on the Persian Gulf.

• The Yanbu’terminal on the Red Sea, from which most of the remaining 25 percent is exported, has loading capacity of approximately 4.5 million bbl/d crude and 2 million bbl/d for NGL and products. The facility is reportedly not used to full capacity.
These and a dozen other smaller terminals throughout the country, appear capable of exporting up to 14-15 million bbl/d of crude and refined products, 3-4 million bbl/d higher than Saudi Arabia’s current crude oil production capacity.

Major Domestic Petroleum Pipelines

Saudi Aramco operates more than 9,000 miles of petroleum pipelines throughout the county, including two major pipelines:

• The 745-mile, 5 million-bbl/d East-West Crude Oil Pipeline (Petroline), has been operated by Saudi Aramco since 1984 (when it took over from Mobil), and is used mainly to transport Arabian Light and Super Light from Abqaiq refineries in the Eastern Province to Red Sea terminals (Yanbu) for export to European markets. Reportedly, the Saudis expanded the Petroline in part to maintain Yanbu’as a strategic option to Gulf port facilities in the event that exports were blocked from passing through the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The Petroline is utilized at less than half capacity, as shipments from Yanbu’add up to five days roundtrip travel time for tankers through the Bab al-Mandab strait to major customers in Asia.

• Running parallel to the Petroline is the 290,000-bbl/d Abqaiq-Yanbu’natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline, which serves Yanbu's petrochemical plants.
Also built in the 1980s was a 236-mile multi-products line between Dhahran in the Eastern Province and Riyadh and a 220-mile smaller multi-product line between Riyadh and Qassim to the north.

International Petroleum Pipelines

Saudi Aramco does not operate any major functioning international pipelines. The Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) from Qaisumah to Sidon, Lebanon, completed in 1974, has been mothballed, in part, since 1984 (the portion to Jordan was closed in 1990, through there has been talk of reopening this portion). Also, a 1.65 million-bbl/d, 48-inch Iraqi Pipeline across Saudi Arabia (IPSA), which runs parallel to the Petroline from pump station #3 (there are 11 pumping stations along the Petroline) to the port of Mu'ajjiz, just south of Yanbu, was built in 1989, but closed indefinitely following the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In June 2001, Saudi Arabia seized ownership of IPSA.

Theoretically, IPSA could be used for Saudi oil transport to the Red Sea, although the Saudis have reported that the pipeline has been converted to carry gas as part of the Master Gas System. A private Saudi company has offered to rehabilitate the IPSA oil pipeline, but this idea has not gone beyond the proposal state.

The only functioning international crude pipeline system is a 60-year old complex of four small submarine pipelines carrying Arabian Light crude from the Abu Saafra and Dammam fields to Bahrain. The pipelines range from 207,000 to 250,000 bbl/d capacity. Reportedly, this aging pipeline will be decommissioned after the construction of the New Arabia pipeline, a 71-mile, 350,000-450,000-bbl/d capacity feed running between Abqaiq and Bahrain’s refinery at Sitra.


Saudi Aramco's shipping subsidiary Vela

International Marine Ltd. operates the sixth largest fleet of supertankers in the world, including 24 VLCCs (very large crude carriers), one Aframax class vessel, and four product tankers. In addition to tankers, Aramco owns or leases oil storage facilities around the world, in places like Rotterdam, Sidi Kerir (the Sumed pipeline terminal on Egypt's Mediterranean coast), South Korea, the Philippines, and the Caribbean.

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) is a public company, although the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Saudi government holds 28 percent, while the remaining 72 percent is publicly traded. The NSCSA fleet has a total of eight VLCCs, with plans to increase the fleet to 17 VLCCs.

Author:EIA  From:EIA  Edit:Alice
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