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Motiva expansion cost in range of $10 billion: Saudi Aramco CEO

PORT ARTHUR, Texas | Thu May 31, 2012 2:37pm EDT

(Reuters) – Saudi Aramco SDABO.UL Chief Executive Khalid Al-Falih said the total cost of expanding the Motiva Enterprises MOTIV.UL Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) was “in the range of” $10 billion, double its original estimate.

The Port Arthur refinery is the largest investment Saudi Aramco, which is a 50-50 partner with Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) in Motiva, has made outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al-Falih told reporters on Thursday.

Motiva officially christened the Port Arthur refinery expansion on Thursday.

The expansion, which made the Motiva Port Arthur refinery the largest in the United States, was originally budgeted at $5 billion, but had climbed to an estimated $7 billion in the fourth and fifth years of the project, according to Wall Street analysts citing information from Motiva and Shell.

Motiva, Shell and Saudi Aramco have been tight-lipped with the media about the rising cost of the project.

“It’s not surprising costs have gone up from what you heard before,” Al-Falih said. (Reporting by Kristen Hays and Erwin Seba; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Carol Bishopric)

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