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APPEC: Aramco Trading to boost trade volumes by 50% to 6 mil b/d by 2020: CEO

Singapore — Aramco Trading targets boosting its refined products and crude trading volume by 50% to 6 million b/d by 2020, led by its parent Saudi Aramco's refining expansion projects, and is looking to make forays into LNG trading from Singapore, President and CEO Ibrahim Al-Buainain said Monday.

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Aramco Trading currently trades 4 million b/d of refined products and crude, including volumes from the US, and sees Asia as its key growth market, Buainain said in an on-stage interview at the S&P Global Platts Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference in Singapore.

"We included crude oil in our [trading] portfolio from last year," Buainain said, adding that all of the crude traded is third-party crude and the company does not trade Saudi crude.

"What we do is the third-party crude -- some of it [we] take it to our system, and some of it we take it to the market, [including] several cargoes from US to the region," he said.

The company currently trades around 800,000 b/d of crude, he added.

Asked about Aramco Trading's plans for crude trading in 2020 or 2025, Buainain said: "I think it will be [around] a million barrels a day of third-party crude."

Aramco Trading manages trading activities in Southeast and Northeast Asia out of its Singapore office, including assets in Japan, South Korea and China, Buainain said.

In Fujairah, the company currently trades mostly fuel oil and gasoline, he said.

Aramco Trading is also looking to launch an office in Europe, Buainain said.

"We are looking at two places -- basically Geneva and London. We need to make a decision by the end of this year," he said, adding the Europe office should be in operation in the second half of next year.

In Singapore, the company plans to launch LNG trading.

"We would like the Singapore office to be hub for our LNG trading, so we are building capacity," he said, adding that Aramco Trading plans to mainly trade in physical LNG cargoes out of Singapore.

-- Takeo Kumagai, takeo.kumagai@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com