Jubail & Yanbu: The East-West Pipeline
As part of the Kingdom's determination to optimize its energy resources, the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu implemented a two stage project to conserve and then exploit the Kingdom's enormous reserves of natural gas in the eastern region.
First, the Royal Commission established a vast network to gather and process natural gas in the industrial city of Jubail. Then it proceeded with the construction of a double pipeline, running from east to west across the Kingdom to transport oil and gas from Jubail to Yanbu in order to supply energy for the many industrial projects which Yanbu undertook and to facilitate the export of these energy products from the Red Sea coast. The pipeline which runs for 730 miles (1,170 km) was completed in 1982.
Petroline runs from Abqaiq to Yanbu. Built in 1981 with the capacity to move more than 1.8 million bpd of crude oil, Petroline was expanded to handle 3.2 million bpd in 1987. The expansion consisted of laying a new pipeline parallel to the original. Further development plans call for additional capacity to raise overall throughput to 4.5 million bpd. This project will give Saudi Aramco greater flexibility to move different grades of crude oil to its western export terminals. Security concerns have largely motivated this expansion because the kingdom's foreign customers have shown less enthusiasm for lifting crude oil from the Red Sea port as a result of the higher cost of cargoes. Consequently, the actual carriage from Petroline has averaged only 1.5 million bpd.
Saudi Arabia's other
major pipeline is the east-west NGL pipeline. This pipe runs from
Shadqam to Yanbu, again parallel to Petroline, and can transport
270,000 bpd of NGL. Given the problems associated with the
gas-gathering system, original plans to expand the pipeline to
490,000 bpd were shelved. Finally, a smaller pipeline, built in
the 1940s, runs from Saudi Aramco's facilities in the Eastern
Province to the refinery on Bahrain, transporting approximately
200,000 bpd of crude oil.