His Highness Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al Saud, President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) kicked off today activities of the "Chinese Saudi Oil Refining Forum 2015” organized by KACST at its headquarters in Riyadh, in the presence of a eclectic mix of refining leaders, oil refiners, researchers, catalyst innovators, chemical and petrochemical companies, research institutes, and decision makers from both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and The People's Republic of China (PRC).
At the outset of his speech, Prince Turki expressed his delight with this forum, which is held annually on regular bases, once in Saudi Arabia and the other in the PRC; considering it as a complement of the well-established cooperation between Saudi Aramco and SABIC from one side and the Chinese companies from the other side in the petrochemical industries.
The Prince asserted the Kingdom's enthusiasm for cooperation and expansion in the transfer of technology and building-up joint industry between Saudi Arabia and the PRC, announcing KACST’s establishment in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Saudi-Sino Center for Technology Transfer in the Kingdom, as well as another center in China; meanwhile underlining KACST’s devotion to significantly expand the establishment of joint vast technology oases and major industries in the field of advanced technologies between the Kingdom and China.
The Prince underlined” The decline of oil prices, no doubt, urges us to take keen interest in the added value as exporting oil as a productive industrial material is economically much better for the Kingdom. We have to work hard in the Kingdom in cooperation with developed countries to build a strong industry with an added value that substitutes exporting oil as a raw material. This is the promising future that can be effective without being affected by fluctuating market”.
For her part, Professor Shan Hong-Hong President, China University of Petroleum, welcomed the attendees, underlining the world's deep interest in the refining technologies and petrochemicals, including China, the world first consumer of energy since 2011, and Saudi Arabia, the largest producer of energy in the world; stressing that out of this fact comes the importance of strengthening the standing scientific and industrial cooperation between the two countries.
Professor Shan stressed the importance of re-designing technology to be more efficient and more consistent with environmental standards and criteria; focusing on the need to confront global warming and many other environmental challenges.
Dr. Hamid El-Megren, Assistant Director for Scientific Affairs, Materials Research Institute, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Forum, considered petroleum refining industry as an essential and vital one in any country particularly in Saudi Arabia and the PRC for their dependence mainly on the availability of crude oil and the quantity of its production, where the Kingdom is the largest producer and exporter of oil in the world while the PRC is the largest importers of the crude oil in the world.
Dr. El-Megren underlined that KACST, out of this concept, took keen interest in holding multi-branched research cooperation in the field of oil refining with a number of universities and research centers in the PRC including the China University of Petroleum; pointing out that this scientific cooperation between KACST and China University of Petroleum targets promoting the oil refining industry through carrying out applied research in the field of petroleum refining, exchanging experiences and asperities as well as holding annual scientific meetings.
The Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Forum also cleared that the Forum is shared by three countries, namely Saudi Arabia and PRC and Britain, through which they present twenty scientific papers discussing challenges and opportunities in refining industries, innovation in hydro-treatment of oil fractions, outlook in catalytic refining processes, advanced development in fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) processes, FCC in oil refining and residue upgrading, latest developments in fuel upgrading as well as integrations of refining and petrochemical processes.
Then, Mohammed Saud Al-Shammari, President of Yasref, Saudi Aramco Export joint venture refinery, spotted the light on the strategic partnership between the Kingdom and China in the various areas of oil refining; highlighting, in the mean time, that Saudi Aramco has opened a marketing office for crude oil in Beijing and sponsored 25 Saudi students to study the Chinese language then enrol in Chinese universities in order to manage joint projects in the future and be ambassadors between the two countries.
Al-Shammari discussed the three challenges facing the industry, namely, the manual profit margin of the refining industry, the increasingly stringent legislation and specifications that control the refining industry, and the accelerating increase in demand for refined products and derivatives; stressing that to meet the customer's requirements and government regulations, more efficient and advanced technologies must be adopted and applied.
Al-Shammari revealed that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank reviewed oil prices and production reduction in 2015 from 3.5% in April, to 3.3% in July; indicating that the situation seems worse for economies-based- on increasing fuel consumption and pointing out that the global demand for refined crude came close to 82 million barrels per day in 2014 and is expected to increase to 96 million barrels per day by the year 2040, with a weak increase of 0.6% per year.
The President of Yasref expected the growth rate to be better by 1.1% per year over the next ten years, indicating that the volume of refined crude oil is expected to surpass volumes of crude oil products, which will contribute in the long run to a little delay of refining operations.
Al-Shammari affirmed that the demand on oil refining is going to increase by 2040; meanwhile predicting an increase of 10 million barrel a day in the demand on oil by 2025 with an average annual increase of million barrel per day, though the slowdown in demand amount would contribute to a decrease in these numbers, disclosing that the global growth would remain concentrated in Saudi Arabiz\a, China, India, and Brazil.
Yasref President concluded “Forecasts show that the Kingdom’s production and China constitute 60% of the world's growing needs over the next ten years. This situation opens the horizon for further cooperation between companies such as Saudi Aramco and Sinopec. Technology would be the master- key to enrich this cooperation”.
Next, events of the first day of the Form commenced by the first session titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Refining Industries” followed by the second session titled: “Outlook in Catalytic Refining Processes”. Activities of the day were concluded by the third session titled “advanced development in Fluidized Catalytic Cracking (FCC) processes”. The Forum would resume its activities on Wednesday by three scientific sessions.