NOT JUST ABOUT VOLUME

Saudi Arabia 2018-19 | INDUSTRY & DEFENSE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mr. Ibrahim Al-Faqeeh, Vice President of Saudi Aramco Base Oil Company (Luberef), on the Industry sector.

Mr. Ibrahim Al-Faqeeh
BIOGRAPHY
Mr. Ibrahim Al-Faqeeh is Vice President of Saudi Aramco Base Oil Company (Luberef).

How have your operations advanced throughout the years?

Luberef is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Jadwa Industrial Investment and started producing and supplying base oil in 1978, celebrating its 40th year in operations in 2018. Since its inception, Luberef has sought to be a company that seeks innovation and growth, produce high-quality products, and be a leader in the market. Thus far, we have grown from one to two refineries—in Jeddah and Yanbu—with a major expansion at the Yanbu refinery in 2018 that doubled the size of the total production of base oil to around 8 million barrels per year. Following the Yanbu expansion, Luberef has become a substantial market player in the industry and supply side influencer, with a production volume that represents about 40% of Middle East production capacity.

How do you approach diversification and innovation?

The recent Yanbu expansion was not just about volume; it introduced a modern production technology that makes new types of higher performance base oil products—Group II base oils. With the expansion, Luberef is the first producer to offer a full range of Group II base oils within the Middle East region, and as such is taking a leading role in facilitating a change in the market that enables and supports the market drive to provide higher quality lubricants. Luberef has developed into a global company, moving from supplying the GCC to markets in Africa and Asia. This encouraged a new marketing approach with the introduction of branded products. These brands are developed in conjunction with Aramco, aligning the portfolio of the three base oils: Luberef, S-Oil, and Motiva. For the new series of Group II base oils, the aramcoPRIMA brand was launched, in addition to aramcoDURA for the Group I base oils.