The first fuel exports from a major new Saudi Arabian-Chinese refinery will load in December, slightly later than expected, three industry sources said.
The 400,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Co (Yasref) refinery started trial runs in September and originally planned its first exports by November.
Yasref is the second refinery to start up in Saudi Arabia in the past two years, and will complete state company Saudi Aramco’s transformation into a leading exporter of diesel.
The shipment will be off-specification high sulphur gasoil, according to one of the sources.
The sources said it had faced some problems with commissioning, which is a normal when new refineries start up. The construction of the refinery was complete, the sources said, but more tests needed to be done.
“Commissioning is on the way, the crude distillation unit is producing naphtha and intermediate products but full stream of production takes time,” said one industry source.
“By around December they will ship out the first product (cargo).”
The state-owned refiner has not detailed plans for its 37.5 per cent share of output from the refinery.
Sources said it will export some naphtha initially as the operator tries to stabilize gasoline-making units.
Officials at Yasref could not be reached for comment.
Sinopec will target Europe and East Africa for diesel shipments from the refinery with the first clean diesel cargo due in the first quarter of next year.