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ConocoPhillips Signs Yanbu' Refinery Pact

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 5/24/2006, Location: Middle East

Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhillips Wednesday signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct a detailed evaluation for the proposed development of a 400,000 barrel-per-day, full-conversion refinery in Yanbu', Saudi Arabia. The refinery would be designed to process Arabian heavy crude and produce high-quality, ultra-low sulfur refined products that meet current and future U.S. and European product specifications. The project is targeted to startup in 2011.

The MOU sets forth the agreement between Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhillips regarding the key parameters of the project, the project configuration, and a broad range of the major technical, commercial, legal and financial terms.

The proposed project represents an opportunity for the world's largest producer of hydrocarbons and ConocoPhillips to work together to construct a state-of-the-art, full-conversion, heavy crude refinery to serve multiple markets with high-quality, refined products in an environmentally sound manner.

For Saudi Arabia, this project would not only add value to the Kingdom's petroleum product exports, it would also be a platform for increased industrial development in the Kingdom. In addition to attracting foreign investment to Saudi Arabia, the project is expected to expand its economy and provide increased job opportunities for Saudi nationals.

"For over 70 years, Saudi Aramco has been committed to providing the world with reliable energy to fuel its prosperity," said Abdallah S. Jum'ah, Saudi Aramco president & chief executive officer. "This proposed venture with our industry colleagues at ConocoPhillips is a proud moment for us all, and will allow us to expand our role to downstream exports in addition to the upstream."

"ConocoPhillips welcomes this opportunity to work with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company to add needed capacity to the international refining system," said Jim Mulva, chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips. "The Yanbu' project fits well with the company's overall strategy to invest in projects that expand our global refining presence, and would provide significant new supplies of refined products to help meet growing requirements around the world."

Longer-term, the MOU contemplates Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhillips forming a joint venture company with equal ownership interests to own and operate the proposed new refinery. Subject to required regulatory approvals, the parties may offer up to 30 percent interest in the project to the Saudi public. Saudi Aramco would supply the project with 400,000 barrels per day of Arabian heavy crude oil. Saudi Aramco and ConocoPhillips would each be responsible for marketing one half of the refinery's production.

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