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Petro Rabigh weighing fuel oil upgrading project

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company announced Sept. 2 that it is considering adding approximately 75,000 barrels per day of fuel oil upgrading capacity to its portfolio of oil refining and petrochemical facilities.

The Saudi Arabia-based company said it has invited contractors to present initial engineering studies during September that would allow it to evaluate the project, which would consist of two main plants and other secondary facilities "to convert low-value fuel oil to diesel and other high-value products with international specifications."

The announcement comes as the global refining and maritime shipping industries prepare for more strict regulations on the sulfur content of marine fuels. Known as IMO 2020, the regulations are expected to shift the global oil and refined product trade, with experts predicting an increase in middle distillate demand as vessel operators move away from burning high-sulfur fuel oil.