Saudi Arabia Review

LPG exports set to drop

Aramco is estimated to produce around 24 million tpy of LPG at an average production rate of 9.4-9.5 mbpd

SAUDI Aramco’s LPG output for 2012 is set to rise from 2011 as the Middle Eastern oil giant increases crude production, a source with knowledge of the company’s plans says.

“Yes, that’s possible. Aramco is expanding crude production. There are a few oil fields ... they may not be as large as Manifa ... probably not as substantial as 2 or 3 million barrels per day, but the company is debottlenecking and steadily increasing production of other fields as well,” the source says.

The development of the offshore Manifa oil field is the last of Saudi Aramco’s planned capacity expansion projects and is being brought on stream in two phases.

The first 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) increment is due in June 2013, rising to 900,000 bpd in 2022.

“It really depends on the volume of production of crude. There were reports a couple of days back that Saudi was currently producing around 10 mbpd of crude. So I have no idea what the figure would be, but it’s definitely looking higher than this year,” says the source when asked about the estimated total LPG production for 2012.

“Except for among top management, they don’t like to reveal their total LPG production volumes. That’s confidential. But next year the production will be more,” another source close to Aramco had says. “Next year crude production is expected to be higher. Even if the world economy slows down, production will likely be maintained at an average of 9.4-9.5 mbpd.”

According to market sources Aramco is estimated to produce around 24 million tpy of LPG at an average crude production rate of 9.4-9.5 mbpd.

“This year is looking to be much higher than 24 million tonnes,” says the first source.

Saudi Aramco is slated to produce at least an additional 1.5 million tonnes of LPG, or 6.25 per cent more than its earlier estimated peak production of 24 million tonnes in 2011, due to an increase in crude output.

Even as Aramco’s LPG output for 2012 is slated to rise from current year levels, total export volumes are expected to dip to around 6.5 million tonnes.

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