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Saudis to take control of largest U.S. refinery

A history of oil's booms and busts

The crown jewel among America's oil refiners may soon be owned by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Aramco, the state oil company of OPEC's most powerful player, recently announced plans to take full control of the sprawling Port Arthur, Texas refinery. The Gulf Coast facility is the largest refinery in the U.S. and can process 600,000 barrels of oil a day.

Port Arthur has great strategic value, especially given the American oil boom that has eased U.S. appetite for foreign oil.

It will give the Saudis complete control over the refinery. They could then likely bring more of their own crude oil into the U.S. for refining and selling in the North American market.

"Saudi Arabia would have an anchor tenant for much of their crude oil production," said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service. "Port Arthur is the jewel the Saudis would like."

Last year Port Arthur made headlines for joining a nationwide worker strike over safety concerns. The worker unrest followed an extensive five-year makeover at Port Arthur that...