CEO: Saudi Aramco Not Worried About Competition in Asia
FADHILI, Saudi Arabia, July 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco is not worried about competition from other producers raising their crude sales in Asia as the number of customers the state oil giant deals with is also increasing, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Iraq overtook Saudi Arabia for the first time to be India's top oil supplier in the June quarter, helped by sales of discounted heavy crude that refiners have also been using to make bitumen to build roads in the world's No.3 oil consumer.
To combat attempts to steal market share, the kingdom's oil giant this month slashed the August official selling price (OSP) of its benchmark light crude grade to Asia by the most in nine months and analysts warned it may need to make deeper cuts.
But speaking on the sidelines of a company event, CEO Amin Nasser said Aramco was confident in its Asia business.
"(Aramco offers) the reliability of supply and the quality of crudes, so various companies see big value and benefit in dealing with Aramco," he said.
"Customers are increasing, no we are not," he said when asked if he was worried about other producers gaining market share in Asia.
Aramco's Wasit gas plant, which has a processing capacity of 2.5 billion standard cubic feet per day, has reached full capacity, Nasser said.
The project is one of the largest gas plants built by Aramco, and has added importance as the kingdom strives to increase supply at a time when it is using more for power generation and the expansion of domestic industry is being crimped by shortages.
Separately, Nasser said the planned Jizan refinery will come online in 2018, while the firm is still studying plans for a clean fuels project.
The refinery, in the southwest of the kingdom, is slated to process 400,000 barrels per day when fully operational.
Sources told Reuters in May the deadline for contractors to bid to build the clean fuels project at Aramco's biggest oil refinery in Ras Tanura had been delayed until July 17.
The proposed $2 billion scheme to remove sulphur from refined products would be part of a drive to meet stricter environmental standards.
(Writing by David French; Editing by Andrew Torchia and David Evans)
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