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.


Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

Updated 30 min 41 sec ago
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Iran anti-money laundering law faces challenge as deadline looms

  • Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force
  • Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment

DUBAI: A top Iranian constitutional body has demanded changes to anti-money laundering measures passed by parliament, state-run media said on Saturday, as Tehran nears a deadline to pass legislation to help it attract investment while facing USsanctions.
Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization which underpins regimes combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. It hopes it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it.
In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country, which has already been hit by the return of US sanctions. {nL5N1UY39D]
Hard-liners in parliament have opposed legislation aimed at moving toward compliance with FATF standards, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist organization.
The Guardian Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament for compliance with the constitution, objected to four items in the anti-money laundering amendments and returned the measure to parliament, spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei was quoted by the judiciary’s news agency Mizan as saying.
Kadkhodaei did not give details of the four items, according to Mizan.
Earlier this month, the Guardian Council approved legal amendments on combating the funding of terrorism.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in June parliament should pass legislation to combat money laundering according to its own criteria.
Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.