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The UAE’s state-owned oil company Adnoc plans to make a major push into downstream operations, eyeing a twofold boost to its refining capacity until 2025, the company’s chief executive Sultan al-Jaber told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference, at which Adnoc presented its new downstream strategy to the CEOs of Big Oil players including Shell, BP, and Italy’s ENI.
The investment needed for the refining capacity boost is estimated at US$45 billion, which will focus on the Ruwais refining and petrochemicals complex. Adnoc plans to build an additional refinery at the complex that will boost its potential refining capacity to 1.5 million bpd. This is about half of the crude oil that the UAE produces on a daily basis.
Adnoc is also eyeing international downstream investments, the most notable among them in the US$44-billion Ratnagiri refinery and petrochemicals complex to be built in the Indian state of Maharashtra, which should be completed by 2022 and will have a daily throughput capacity of 300,000 bpd of crude.
Adnoc will likely buy a minority stake in the refinery from its bigger rival Saudi Aramco, which wants 50 percent in the megaproject. The Abu Dhabi company has also started sending crude to India’s strategic oil reserve, with an initial shipment of 2 million barrels, to be followed by another 3.86 million barrels.
The Emirati company last year announced it will be allocating US$109 billion for gas production and downstream investments internationally over the next five years. Asia is a natural focus of attention for Adnoc as it is the region with the strongest oil demand growth globally.
The new focus on downstream operations reflects the shift in global oil prompted by the changing patterns of oil demand spurred by renewable energy and electric cars. This shift will see petrochemicals become the main source of revenue for the oil industry, displacing fuels, which currently account for the biggest portion of revenues.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.