Good evening. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Jubail Export Refinery Project Shareholders agreement signing ceremony, and our announcement of the creation of the Jubail Refining and Petrochemical Joint Venture Company.
Please join me in welcoming to Jiddah corporate and executive management representatives from Total, including Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, and his leadership team.
There are several reasons for the energy surrounding this partnership to develop a world-class, 400,000 barrel per day, full-conversion refinery which will also produce 1 million tons of aromatics and olefins per year.
1. The Jubail Export Refinery created an opportunity for Saudi Aramco to collaborate with Total, a leading company in the industry and an organization on the move, and continue to build a relationship forged to address strategic goals.
2. This partnership will help meet spiking demand for transportation fuels, especially diesel and jet fuels, in the rapidly growing Far Eastern market, as well as in the Middle East and Europe. It is no secret that global demand for energy is projected to continue its dramatic growth well into the future, with petroleum still meeting the lion’s share of the call, based on the abundance, reliability, and affordability of this established resource, as well as the extensive production, transportation and distribution networks serving petroleum.
3. The concurrent expansion in global refining capacity, especially accommodating the heavier, sourer crudes that are making up more of the world’s crude oil production to meet anticipated world demand, is another reason for this joint venture we celebrate today. The Jubail Refinery reflects the leadership of Saudi Aramco and Total in our strategic alliance to address the existing mismatch between refinery infrastructure and types of crude oil on the market, and the resulting tightness in the refining sector. The proposed refinery, slated to come on-stream in 2012, will process Arabian Heavy crude and produce high quality, refined products meeting stringent current and future global specifications.
4. Finally, the strategic positioning of the Jubail Export Refinery as an economic multiplier is another facet of the project spurring anticipation and excitement. From Saudi Aramco’s perspective, it is creating job opportunities within the Kingdom, continuing to stimulate our national economy and diversify our industrial base by inviting foreign investment. In addition, we are hopeful of the partnership’s plan to offer, subject to regulatory approvals, a 25 percent ownership in the company to Saudi public investors in a move to help stimulate domestic financial markets, develop the private sector, and diversify sources of national income.
Ladies and gentlemen, Saudi Aramco is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year. Even as we observe three-quarters of a century of achievement, we are looking ahead to our next 75 years and beyond. The Jubail Export Refinery is a bright example of our push to build for the future. This overview of all the reasons the Jubail Export Refinery is good news for the Kingdom and the wider world brings us full circle to the partnership that powers this exciting new venture.
The strategic alliance of Saudi Aramco and Total to meet domestic and international markets’ growing demand for high-quality fuels and petrochemicals is a testimonial to the importance of energy inter-dependence, as partners combine resources, technologies and capabilities toward shared goals and shared benefit.
Saudi Aramco is both proud and gratified to join forces with Total, among other distinctions; the No. 1 Western European refiner-marketer, one of the world’s largest integrated chemical producers and the leader in its petrochemicals market, on this important project.
In closing, I think it is appropriate to underscore that Energy security — access to reliable, affordable supply — calls for cooperation among producers and consumers in pursuit of energy diversity, efficiency and conservation. Given the energy challenges facing producers, consumers and all stakeholders in the energy industry, projects like the Jubail joint venture show the concrete steps that Saudi Aramco and the Kingdom are taking to address these upstream and downstream issues and concerns, taking them out of the realm of discussion and into action for the benefit of people everywhere.
Achieving this milestone in the Jubail project has been possible thanks to concerted team effort. I’d like to express my personal appreciation to Total and Saudi Aramco departments and individuals whose contributions have brought us to this point, and all those poised to take the Jubail project to the next stage.
Thank you, and congratulations.