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

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.

Lebanon central bank reassures foreign investors about deposits

Updated 25 January 2020

Lebanon central bank reassures foreign investors about deposits

  • Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor asked if there was any risk to dollar deposits
  • The heavily indebted country’s crisis has shaken confidence in banks

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s central bank said on Saturday there would be no “haircut” on deposits at banks due to the country’s financial crisis, responding to concerns voiced by a UAE businessman about risks to foreign investments there.

Emirati Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, founder of the Al-Habtoor Group that has two hotels in Beirut, posted a video of himself on his official Twitter account asking Lebanon’s central bank governor if there was any risk to dollar deposits of foreign investors and whether there could be any such haircut.

“The declared policy of the Central Bank of Lebanon is not to bankrupt any bank thus preserving the depositors. Also the law in Lebanon doesn’t allow haircut,” the Banque Du Liban (BDL) said in a Twitter post addressed to Al-Habtoor, from Governor Riad Salameh.

“BDL is providing the liquidity needed by banks in both Lebanese pound and dollars, but under one condition that the dollars lent by BDL won’t be transferred abroad.”

“All funds received by Lebanese banks from abroad after November 17th are free to be transferred out,” it added on its official Twitter account.

The heavily indebted country’s crisis has shaken confidence in banks and raised concerns over its ability to repay one of the world’s highest levels of public debt.

Seeking to prevent capital flight as hard currency inflows slowed and anti-government protests erupted, banks have been imposing informal controls on access to cash and transfers abroad since last October.

A new government was formed this week, and its main task is to tackle the dire financial crisis that has seen the Lebanese pound weaken against the dollar.

Al-Habtoor had asked Salameh for clarity for Arab investors concerned about the crisis and those thinking of transferring funds to Lebanon to try to “help the brotherly Lebanese.”