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  HOME | Oil & Energy (Click here for more)

Saudi Arabia Takes Ownership of Largest Refinery in USA

HOUSTON -- Saudi Arabia's state-owned Aramco oil company has taken full ownership and control of America's largest oil refinery.

On Monday, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had fully terminated its partnership with Saudi Aramco in the Port Arthur refinery.

As part of the divorce, Saudi Aramco, through its wholly owned Saudi Refining, Inc. subsidiary, took ownership of Motiva Enterprises LLC, meaning that Saudi Arabia now fully owns and controls the refinery at Port Arthur, Texas, and 24 distribution terminals.

Port Arthur is considered the flagship of the U.S. refinery system. The Gulf Coast facility can process over 600,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the largest single refinery in North America.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia, through Motiva now will be selling Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as the eastern half of Texas and the majority of Florida.


PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS

Saudi Refining, Inc. first purchased 50% of the Port Arthur refinery (and two others) from Texaco to form a joint venture with Texaco called Star Enterprise in January 1989. In 2001, Texaco was purchased by Chevron. Shortly thereafter Chevron's interest in this refinery (and two others) was sold to Shell on February 13, 2002.

The first processing units of the Port Arthur Refinery were constructed in 1902 by the Texas Company, later Texaco.

Motiva Enterprises LLC's Port Arthur refinery regained its largest refinery title in 2012, after it undertook a $10 billion expansion which added 325,000 barrels per day of capacity. Approximately 1,200 people are employed at the site.

The expansion increased its crude oil capacity to 600,000 barrels per day making it the largest refinery in the U.S.

As of May 2016 the refinery has reached a maximum capacity of 636,500 barrels per day. Several of the process units added during the expansion are going through debottlenecking to increase their capacity even further.

A three-unit naphtha processing complex includes a catalytic reformer which converts 85,000 b/d into high octane gasoline for blending. The scale of the expansion included 725 pumps, 19 compressors, 514 heat exchangers and several new tanks.

The refinery can process a wide range of crude inputs, even the lowest quality -- including shale oil and heavy, sour, and acid crudes.

Port Arthur, 91 miles east of Houston is home to a number of refineries and petrochemical industries.


Shell

For its part of the deal, Shell assumes sole ownership of the Norco, Louisiana, refinery (where Shell operates a chemicals plant), the Convent, Louisiana, refinery, 11 distribution terminals, and Shell-branded markets in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, a portion of the Florida panhandle, and the North-eastern region of the U.S. Shell also walks away with a $2.2 billion balancing payment.


 

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