In the oil industry, the upstream business focuses on exploration and production, while the downstream business focuses on refining, chemicals and marketing. By far, Aramco’s most profitable unit is its upstream business.
The oil producer earlier Sunday said it’ll set up a division for portfolio optimization and strategic alignment, headed by senior vice president Abdulaziz Al Gudaimi. He previously ran Aramco’s downstream business, according to information on the company’s website.
In a potential sign of Aramco’s changing priorities as it tries to preserve cash, the company suspended a $10-billion project to build a refinery in China, Bloomberg reported last week. The project was unveiled to great fanfare last year but low oil prices —- driven by the impact of the coronavirus on demand — are forcing energy companies
to reassess their portfolios.