SINGAPORE, (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil will shut their joint-venture refinery in the Red Sea port of Yanbu for scheduled maintenance for about 45 days from mid-March, trading sources said on Wednesday.
The Samref plant, which exports mainly gasoline and gas oil, will be completely shut from March 15 to April 30.
Traders estimate that a major turnaround takes place every eight years and a partial shutdown occurs every four years.
The Samref refinery exports as much as four to five cargoes — or about 120,000 to 150,000 tonnes — of gas oil every month, traders estimate.
Gas oil fundamentals had firmed over the last few weeks, buoyed by a cold spell in key heating fuel-consuming markets in the West, but sentiment soured after forecasts of warmer temperatures this week in top consumer the United States.
Burgeoning distillate inventories stored on floating vessels and in tanks continue to weigh on the market, and have kept cracks below $8.00 a barrel for five straight sessions.