DUBAI,(Reuters) – Saudi Aramco has no plans to exit more overseas refining ventures following the sale of its stake in the Philippines’ top refiner Petron Corp last week, an Aramco spokesman said on Monday.
The world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has stakes through state oil firm Aramco in international refining ventures in the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.
“There are no plans to sell any of our interests in other refining ventures,” the Aramco Overseas Company (AOC) spokesman said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters. “There has been no change in Saudi Aramco’s long-term strategic objectives both at home and abroad.”
Aramco is increasingly focused on its $50 billion domestic upstream and downstream expansion programme and on international markets with the potential for substantial future demand growth for refined products, the spokesman said.
“This divestment will help Saudi Aramco to achieve its long-term strategic objectives in the downstream segment,” he said.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a programme to boost oil production capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day next year from 11.3 million bpd now. It has also announced plans to boost domestic refining capacity by as much as 1.6 million bpd from 2.098 million bpd now.
Late last year, the kingdom and Royal Dutch Shell committed to a $7 billion expansion plan for a refinery in the world’s largest energy consumer the United States.
Aramco has also been in talks for a stake in a refinery in Qingdao, China for several years, in addition to its commitment to a plant in Fujian.
But the Saudi giant has pulled back from smaller markets. It sold off its stake in Greek refiner several years ago.
The London-based Ashmore Group approached Aramco to buy the $550 million stake in Petron, the Aramco spokesman said. Aramco would maintain a relationship with Petron, he added, although he gave no details.
“The nature of the relationship between Petron and AOC is changing, but not ending,” he said.
Petron Chairman Nicasio Alcantara said last week Aramco had committed to supply crude even if it sells its stake.