March 9, 2018 / 6:21 PM / 2 years ago

New Motiva CEO says no decision yet on expansion

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises’ [MOTIV.UL] new Chief Executive Officer Brian Coffman said on Friday that no decision has been made on how to spend $18 billion corporate parent Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] has pledged for expansion.

Aramco said in May 2017 it wanted to spend $18 billion in the next five years and was interested in adding petrochemical production capacity. The company’s 603,000 barrel per day plant at Port Arthur, Texas, is the largest refinery in the United States.

“We’re evaluating investment, obviously.” Coffman said to reporters at the CERAWeek conference in Houston. “We’re looking at our options. Investing in petrochemicals, obviously, is one of things that’s on the books that we’re evaluating right now.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Coffman said the possible impact of tariffs approved by President Donald Trump on an expansion was unknown.

“Obviously it’s too early to tell that as well,” he said. “We don’t have the project approved.”

About the coming change to ultra-low maritime fuel in 2020, Coffman said those refineries with coking capacity would benefit the most.

Cokers process residual crude, from which most maritime fuel is made. Cokers convert residual crude into fuel feedstocks or petroleum coke, a substitute for coal.

Coffman took over as president and chief executive of Motiva in late January, replacing Dan Romasko.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio

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