UAE: Downstream Strategy Adnoc Invests 3.5 Billion Dollars to Upgrade Ruwais Refining Capability
The hefty investment aims to develop Ruwais into a dynamic, global hub for downstream activity and further strengthen Adnoc’s role as a key driver for long-term industrial growth in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Abu Dhabi/UAE – The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) confirms significant progress made on its ‘Crude Flexibility Project’ (CFP), with 73 % project delivery of Adnoc’s ongoing upgrade of refining capabilities in Ruwais and strengthening the role of Ruwais as a critical driver for industrial growth in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
For more than 40 years, the company has predominantly refined Murban grade crude, extracted from its onshore fields in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The CFP allows for the Upper Zakum grade, extracted from Abu Dhabi's offshore oil fields, to be processed along with over 50 other types of different crudes.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Adnoc Group CEO said: “We continue to focus on stretching the margin of every barrel of oil we produce to maximise the value of our resources, while also making responsible investments in the current market environment. This investment is another step in our progress to develop Ruwais into a dynamic, global hub for downstream activity, further strengthening the firm’s role as a key driver of the UAE's long-term industrial growth and economic diversification".
In 2018, the company announced plans to diversify the feedstock it processes. The 3.5 billion dollar (AED 12.8 billion) CFP upgrade initiative is a core driver of Adnoc Downstream’s 2030 smart growth strategy. The project will increase the value Adnoc derives from every barrel of oil, both by boosting refining margins and by leaving more high-value Murban crude available for export.
Much of the physical infrastructure required for the CFP has now been put in place. Major structural elements, notably 2 new fractionators and 24 atmospheric residue desulfuriser reactors have been installed at the site over the past two months. Each of the 317-tonne fractionators was transported to the UAE from South Korea. Installing the 80-meter structures took three weeks across June and July 2020. They will serve to separate the component products within the crude oil to allow for further refining.
Upon completion in mid-2022, the CFP will allow Adnoc to process up to 420,000 bpsd (Barrels per Stream Day) of heavier and sourer grades of crude oil, as part of the 840,000 bpsd refinery in Ruwais.
The development of a more flexible and adaptive refining capability in Ruwais represents a cornerstone of Adnoc Downstream’s 2030 smart growth strategy, launched at the company’s Downstream Investment Forum in 2018. Since the Forum, the firm has attracted significant foreign investment to Ruwais and expanded its downstream partnerships across its refining, fertiliser, and pipeline assets.
The firm continues to deliver on the expansion of its downstream business in the UAE, which will see the Ruwais industrial hub transformed into a globally competitive chemicals cluster, leveraging the UAE’s close geographic proximity to global growth markets, access to competitive feedstocks, streamlined utilities and services offer, as well as Abu Dhabi’s attractive fiscal and regulatory environment. Investment at Ruwais will stimulate private sector activity and support long-term specialised employment opportunities, particularly in Al Dhafra.
Adnoc Refining produces more than 40 million metric tonnes of high-quality refined products to markets around the world. It refines up to 922,000 barrels of crude oil and condensate per day into various products, including LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), naphtha, gasoline, jet fuel, gas oil, base oil and petrochemical feedstocks such as propylene. It also produces specialty products such as carbon black and anode grade coke. Since 2019, the firm has been run as a joint venture company between Adnoc and the European energy firms Eni and OMV.