GPCA '12: Abu Dhabi to focus on downstream projects – minister

28 November 2012 08:42  [Source: ICIS news]

Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and WaterDUBAI (ICIS)--Abu Dhabi is planning to move away from its heavy reliance on volatile oil revenues and focus on downstream projects, a government official of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Wednesday.

The move is to diversify its economy and achieve sustainable growth, Rashid Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water, told the delegates at the seventh GPCA Annual Forum in Dubai.

"This entails devising a growth strategy for a globally-competitive organic and inorganic petrochemical industry," he said.

"Parallel to the expansion of our indigenous petrochemical production capability, Abu Dhabi adopted an ambitious inorganic growth strategy which was designed to strengthen our position in polyolefins, both in terms of... products portfolio and access to advanced technology," the minister said.

Abu Dhabi's ethylene production capacity has seen rapid growth over the last five years, totalling 2.1m tonnes/year in 2012, Bin Fahad said, adding that its growth in petrochemical exports was the second highest within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the same period.

Expansions to Borouge's petrochemical complex in Ruwais, the ChemaWEyaat project in Al Gharbia and the growth of the Abu Dhabi Polymers Park are examples of how organic growth could be achieved, he said.

Borouge is now on track to fully start-up an expanded petrochemical facility at Ruwais in Abu Dhabi in mid-2014. The project called Borouge 3 would expand the Ruwais site’s overall production capacity by more than double to 4.5m tonnes/year. The site currently has a 2m tonne/year capacity.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the ChemaWEyaat project once completed will comprise an aromatics complex using 3m tonnes/year of naphtha supplied from the Takreer Ruwais Refiner through a pipeline, according to Bin Fahad.

ChemaWEyaat is a joint venture among Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC).

Meanwhile, IPIC's venture with Oman Oil Co to build a first-phase 230,000 bbl/day refinery in Duqm, Oman, is expected to be completed by 2017, with the second phase to have an integrated petrochemical facility, Bin Fahad said.

IPIC, which has a mandate to invest in the energy and related sectors globally, acquired Canada's Nova Chemicals after having acquired a 64% stake in polyolefins major Borealis.

IPIC has also purchased the remaining shares in Spanish refiner CEPSA from Spain's Total.

"With the critical enablers in place, we believe that the future of the petrochemical industry in the Gulf and in particular, in Abu Dhabi, is bright," Bin Fahad said.

"Like other Gulf states, newer projects in Abu Dhabi will not focus on basic building blocks and commodity petrochemicals but will progress to produce specialty products with the aim of developing downstream industries... while simultaneously creating job opportunities for our youths," he said.

Bin Fahad urged regional petrochemical producers to pursue energy efficiency, production synergies and product base diversification to ensure that their cost competitiveness is sustainable in the future.

"Regional industry players are also expected to lend support to GCC governments to ensure all the enablers are in place, including the development, training and employment of local talents," he said.

"We believe the issues facing the petrochemical industry, both at present and in the future, should not be tackled in isolation, but through collaboration with other regional and global producers," Bin Fahad added.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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