Aramco plans cleaner fuels for Ras Tanura, Rabigh refineries

Updated 25 June 2015

Aramco plans cleaner fuels for Ras Tanura, Rabigh refineries

ALKHOBAR: Saudi Aramco has revived plans to add a clean fuels unit in its biggest oil refinery in Ras Tanura and more environmentally-friendly units to its Rabigh refinery, industry sources said.
There has been a shift in Middle Eastern refineries to produce cleaner fuel to target export markets with stricter environmental requirements.
Early in January, industry sources had told Reuters Aramco suspended plans to develop the $2 billion project in Ras Tanura due to the drop in the oil price.
Aramco's former Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih, now chairman, had said the company would renegotiate some contracts and postpone some projects due to the price fall.
"Companies expressed their interest for the Ras Tanura project, it is the same design and same scope of work," said one of the sources who declined to be identified.
Saudi Aramco invested $2.5 billion with its partner ExxonMobil to upgrade a refinery on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia to produce cleaner fuels and is also upgrading its Riyadh refinery.
Its new and full-conversion refineries in Yanbu and Jubail also make cleaner fuels.
Bidding for construction in Ras Tanura is due to start in August, the source said, and ends in November with an award expected in March next year. Completion of the plant is due in October 2019.
On the Red Sea coast, Saudi Aramco plans with its partner in Rabigh Sumitomo Chemical in PetroRabigh to build a hydro-desulfurization unit and sulphur recovery unit as well as a new polyols plant which will have a capacity of 220,000 tons per year, industry sources said.
Contracts are likely to be awarded in the first quarter of 2016, one of the sources said.


Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

Updated 15 min 18 sec ago

Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

  • Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence

DUBAI: Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12 percent down.

The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million, below $58 million that it reported last year.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Anderson, who has served as CEO for 12 years, was asked to step down. Anderson could not be reached for comment.

The company, which in the past predominantly operated in the UAE, expanded operations and deployed large vessels in the North Sea and Saudi Arabia nine years ago and listed its shares in London in 2014.

Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence.

The North Sea has seen a revival in production in recent years due to new fields coming on line and improved performance by operators following the 2014 oil price collapse.

Still, the basin’s production is expected to decline over the next decade, according to Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority.

“(The CFO’s) review has coincided with a pause in renewables-related self-propelled self-elevating support vessels activity in the North Sea, which will impact several of the higher day-rate E-Class vessels,” Investec wrote in a note.

Gulf Marine appointed industry veteran Kersley as chief financial officer in late May as it sought to halt a slide which has seen the company’s shares fall nearly 80 percent last year and another 23 percent so far this year.

The company said market conditions remained challenging and that it was still in talks with its financial advisors regarding a new capital structure.

“Management, the new board and the group’s advisors, have been in negotiation with the group’s banks on resetting its capital structure and progress has been made,” it said in a statement.

Last year, Gulf Marine said contracts were delayed into 2019 as the company was seen to be in breach of certain banking covenants at the end of 2018.

The company said it was still in talks with its banks and individual lenders with hopes of getting a waiver or an agreement to amend the concerned covenants.