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Saudi Arabia to diversify its energy resources by turning to solar and nuclear power generation

November 01/2011

(Reuters) -- Saudi Petroleum, Chemicals and Mining Co (PCMC), wholly owned by Saudi BinLadin Group, hopes to be more successful in renewable and nuclear energy projects after its attempts to develop the kingdom's first privately owned refinery failed, its chief executive said. Saudi Arabia aims to diversify its energy resources by turning to solar and nuclear power generation to reduce its need to burn fuel oil and preserve its oil for lucrative export markets.


Earlier this year, French nuclear group Areva signed a partnership agreement with the BinLadin Group for nuclear and solar energy. PCMC was one of the major shareholders in Advanced Refineries and Petrochemicals Co. (ARPC) -- a company formed for the development of the Jizan refinery and which is no longer in operation.


ARPC submitted bids for Jizan last year, as part of a consortium with Saudi industrial group Tasnee and Saudi Nama Chemicals Group, but lost the bid to state oil company Saudi Aramco.


The kingdom had hoped the refinery would be built and owned entirely by the private sector, a first in the world's top exporter, but the plan failed to generate interest from foreign investors, who were concerned that the cost of supplying crude to the plant could make it unprofitable in the future.


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