Adnoc unveils ‘milestone’ $45bn plan to extend refining complex

Staff are seen at the Panorama Digital Command Centre at the ADNOC headquarters in Abu Dhabi. (Reuters)
Updated 13 May 2018
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Adnoc unveils ‘milestone’ $45bn plan to extend refining complex

  • ADNOC aims to create world's biggest integrated site
  • The Ruwais project is expected to create 15,000 new jobs by 2025, and add 1 percentage point to GDP annually

LONDON: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the state-owned energy company of the UAE, has announced plans to invest $45 billion, along with international partners, over the next five years to expand existing facilities at Ruwais in the west of the country.
“We aim to create the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals destination in the world,” Adnoc CEO Sultan Al-Jaber told the opening session of the Adnoc Downstream Investment Forum in the UAE capital.
He said that while exploration and production remained an important core business, transforming and expanding the downstream had become a crucial element of future strategy.
“The fundamentals of the energy landscape have shifted, and that shift has ended the era of ‘business as usual.’ This is a milestone event for Adnoc,” Al- Jaber said.
The opening day of the forum brought together industry leaders to discuss the broad theme of investment and expansion outside the upstream areas of exploration and production. 
Some of the world’s biggest energy companies — including Adnoc and Saudi Aramco — have recently focused on downstream expansion, especially in petrochemicals.
The Ruwais project would create 15,000 new jobs by 2025, and add 1 percentage point to GDP annually, he predicted. The aim is to double crude refining and triple petrochemical production. As part of the plan, the refining capacity of the Ruwais facility, which currently stands at 922,000 barrels a day, will be increased by 2025 through an additional new 
refinery, creating a total capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day.
Al-Jaber said that the sharpest growth in world energy over the next 20 years would come from petrochemicals and polymers, and that two thirds of that growth would come from markets in Asia.
“We will look for parties willing to invest with us locally in order to grow with us globally, partners who bring strategic value-add and access to smart capital,” Al-Jaber added.
“Some say the era of oil is growing to a close, but nothing is further from the truth, and in fact the opposite is true. Oil will remain essential for transport, and for the building blocks of every day life. The modern world is enabled and improved by the humble hydrocarbon molecule,” he said.
Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the energy minister of the UAE and president of OPEC, told the forum that the there was no target price for crude oil and that the priority remained to stabilize the market and balance global inventories.
“We are not aiming at a certain price and we cannot do that anyway. There are so many moving parts to the oil market that it is impossible to do it,” he said.
Al-Mazrouei was asked if recent reports suggesting OPEC would like to see oil at $100 a barrel, were accurate. 
“The objective of OPEC is to reach market stabilization at inventory levels healthy for producers and consumers. We do not want $40 fluctuations in the price every few months,” he said.
He added that a price between $65 and $85 per barrel was good for investment in the global oil business. “We are also worried about incentives for investment in future oil supply,” Al-Mazrouei said.
Daniel Yergin, energy expert and author of the Pulitzer-winning history of the oil industry The Prize, said of the Ruwais initiative: “What is significant about this is that Abu Dhabi has a long term capacity for partnership with other leaders in 
energy. That thinking is built into their DNA, and it’s an advantage.”
Helima Croft, managing director and global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said that global demand for oil and petrochemical products looked likely to hold up. “We’re in a synchronized global growth story.”
But she warned that if oil prices were to spike to near $100 a barrel it would “kill off some demand” for crude.
On the effects of a possible hit to oil supplies as a result of the reimposition of sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration, she said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had the capacity to increase their production to make up the difference.
“I have no doubts about the willingness of the Gulf states to create extra supply to compensate for any fall off in Iranian supply,” she added.


EU sets out plans for ‘limited’ US trade deal

Updated 5 min 27 sec ago
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EU sets out plans for ‘limited’ US trade deal

  • Negotiating a trade deal was included in a transatlantic truce secured last year
  • EU governments were shell-shocked last year when Trump imposed tariffs on metals imports as part of his ‘America First’ vision

BUSSELS: The EU on Friday published its negotiating plans for a free trade deal with the US, part of an effort to avert a trade war with US President Donald Trump.
Negotiating a trade deal was included in a transatlantic truce secured last year after the US slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, alarming the world.
The effort is also part of an effort to stop Trump from slapping tariffs on European car imports, a danger that has especially unnerved export powerhouse Germany.
“It is not a traditional (trade deal)... it is a limited but important proposal engaged on industrial goods tariffs only,” EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters.
The process however has got off to a rocky start, with the US side last week including agricultural products in their plans, which is an absolute no-go for the Europeans.
“In this mandate, we are not proposing any reduction of tariffs on agriculture. That area was left outside,” Malmstrom insisted.
The 17-page mandate submitted by the US also included other demands and charges that are unacceptable for the EU, including that Europe stop manipulating foreign exchange rates.
Given the split, the EU is entering the negotiations with trepidation, especially since the threat of auto duties is still very much alive in Washington.
The commission handles trade negotiations for the EU’s 28 member states and the plans must now be approved by the national governments before negotiations actually start with Washington.
Brussels and member states are wary after the failure of the so-called TTIP talks, a far more ambitious transatlantic trade plan which stalled amid fears a deal with Washington would undermine EU food and health standards.
Opposition by activists has already resurfaced with Friends of the Earth Europe warning that “there can be no trade-offs on food standards” in the deal.
EU governments were shell-shocked last year when Trump imposed tariffs on metals imports as part of his “America First” protectionist vision.
Brussels responded by slapping counter-tariffs on more than $3 billion in US exports like bourbon, blue jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
But Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in July called a truce, agreeing that as both sides pursued a trade deal, neither would impose additional tariffs.