Our downstream business is one of the company's engines for growth and diversification. We started building our first pipelines and shipping facilities in 1938, loaded the first tanker to ship Saudi Arabian crude oil in 1939, and commenced refining operations at our original Ras Tanura refinery in 1941. 

Our downstream strategy seeks to enhance the value of our resource base by targeting increased horizontal and vertical integration across the hydrocarbon value chain. The successful execution of our strategy would deliver a world leading, strategically integrated downstream network — one that maximizes the worth of the hydrocarbon molecules we produce — and a robust portfolio that is more resilient to market turbulence.

It is a strategy aligned to the overall intent to become — by 2020 — “the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company, focused on maximizing income, facilitating the sustainable and diversified expansion of the Kingdom’s economy, and enabling a globally competitive and vibrant Saudi energy sector.”

To achieve our strategic objectives in the downstream business, we pursue the following key goals:

  • Optimally meet the Kingdom’s refined product needs, while building a world-scale global refining system
  • Create a top-tier, globally integrated chemicals business
  • Increase integration of downstream facilities
  • Implement our crude oil placement strategy
  • Maximize value creation from power and cogeneration integration opportunities. 

Adding value through integration

Our refining and chemicals facilities in Saudi Arabia — some wholly owned, some ventures with global companies — increase opportunities for domestic conversion industries, manufacturers, and service providers, adding value to the Kingdom’s resource base.

In Saudi Arabia, our downstream operations encompass wholly owned and joint venture refineries and chemicals plants, and a Kingdomwide distribution network. The close integration of our upstream operations with our downstream system enables us to respond safely, reliably, and efficiently to meet the needs of our growing domestic and international customer base.


In 2017, some of these projects were:

  • Jazan Refinery, southwest Saudi Arabia: Continued progress on a 400,000 bpd grassroots refinery, terminal, and integrated gasification combined cycle power plant. Construction of the refinery was nearly 90% complete at year-end
  • Sadara, Jubail, Saudi Arabia: Startup of all remaining plants achieved in first half of 2017
  • Motiva, United States of America: Assumed sole ownership of North America’s largest single-site crude oil refinery, retained 24 terminals, and an exclusive license to sell fuel at more than 5,000 service stations
  • S‐Oil, Republic of Korea: Three refinery upgrade packages completed at the Ulsan refinery to improve refinery efficiency and productivity
  • RAPID, Johor, Malaysia: Refining and chemicals joint ventures formed with Petronas.

Our global downstream network supplies a diverse and expanding range of products. We are a major refiner and among the global leaders in base oils. Chemicals is the fastest growing demand sector for crude oil, and our ventures in this sector position us for future growth and long-term value creation.

We also seek innovative new routes to value. For example, our proprietary Converge® technology transforms emissions by using captured CO2 to make an array of high performance polyols with a broad range of applications. 

  • Our business

    In-Kingdom downstream

    Saudi Arabia’s endowment of oil and gas, our expanding network of refining and chemicals facilities integrated with industrial parks, and geographic proximity to major markets in Europe and Asia all combine to create favorable conditions for investment, growth, and even greater demand.

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  • Our business

    Global downstream

    Our partnerships in refining and marketing ventures in China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States enable us to traverse the length of the value chain from wellhead to consumer, adding value to our resources at every step.

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