Saudi oil minister says ready to meet crude demand

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Saudi Arabia’s Petro Rabigh said on Thursday it had temporarily halted operations after a sudden cut in power and steam supplies.

Petro Rabigh, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, said in a statement that supplies from Rabigh Arabian Water and Electricity Company (RAWEC) had been interrupted since Wednesday afternoon, causing its petrochemical and refining complex to shut down.

“Petro Rabigh is also working with RAWEC on the reconnection of electric power and restarting production of the plants,” it said, adding that it was assessing the operational and financial implications of the interruption. It did not say when operations might resume.

Petro Rabigh, whose facilities include a crude distillation unit for the 400,000 barrels per day refinery and an ethane cracker, shut its complex for about 20 days of maintenance at the start of this year after power and steam supplies were temporarily cut.

The company has an annual output capacity of 18 million tons of refined products and 2.4 million tons of petrochemicals.

Global oil demand could see downside risks while economic growth in emerging markets and Europe slows and the United States imports less oil, a senior industry official said on Thursday.

“We see the downside risks to the outlook [for oil demand] from slower economic growth in key emerging markets, weakness in Europe, the collapse in demand for oil imports from the U.S.,” United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said at an industry event.

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