Aramco US refining unit moves into Texas chemicals business

Saudi Aramco is increasing its global footprint in the petrochemicals business. (Photo courtesy of Motiva.com)
Updated 21 August 2019
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Aramco US refining unit moves into Texas chemicals business

  • Saudi Aramco seeks to reduce its dependence on crude oil sales by developing new added value revenue streams

LONDON: Motiva Enterprises, the US refining unit of Saudi Aramco, has struck a deal to buy the Flint Hills Resources chemical plant in Texas.

The plant is located next to Motiva’s 630,000 barrels-a-day Port Arthur refinery — the largest in the US. The deal represents a significant move downstream by Motiva. 

“This marks the entry of Motiva into the chemical industry,” said Patrick Kirby, Wood Mackenzie principal analyst.

“It remains unclear as to what Motiva has planned post-acquisition, however some options could include strengthening refinery-chemicals integration, expansion of the asset capacity or potentially longer-term derivative plant development. The company has also expressed plans for further chemical developments at Port Arthur, including a world-scale steam cracker and aromatics facility.”

Saudi Aramco is increasing its global footprint in the petrochemicals business as it seeks to reduce its dependence on crude oil sales by developing new added value revenue streams. The world’s largest national oil company in March announced plans to acquire SABIC, the region’s largest petrochemical company, based in Riyadh.

Last week it also emerged that Saudi Aramco planned to acquire a 20 percent stake in the oil-to-chemicals business of India’s Reliance Industries.

Motiva did not disclose its plans for the Texas plant, but said that the potential acquisition was targeted to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

Updated 19 September 2019

Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

  • Jammal Trust Bank is accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon
  • The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank has been forced to wind itself down after being hit last month by US sanctions for allegedly helping to fund the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, the bank said on Thursday.
The central bank said the value of the bank’s assets, and its share of the national deposit guarantee body, were “in principle enough to pay all deposits and commitments.”
Jammal Trust Bank denied the US allegations in August after the bank and its subsidiaries were hit with sanctions, accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
“Despite its sound financial situation ... and its full compliance with banking regulations, the (bank) was forced to take the decision to liquidate itself in full coordination with the central bank,” Jammal Trust said in a statement.
The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain, its website says.
It is a relatively small lender, with net assets of 1,600 billion Lebanese pounds ($1 billion) at the end of 2017, according to the annual report on the latest year for which data is available.
Washington has sought to choke off Hezbollah’s funding worldwide, with sanctions among a slew of steps against Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.