UAE eyes June opening for Fujairah pipeline

Pipeline will have initial capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day rising to 1.8 million bpd

A pipeline being built by the UAE to pump most of its oil exports from east coast terminals bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, will be operational in June, the Ruler of Fujairah told AFP in an interview.

"The pipeline will be operational in June," said His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah.

Construction of the 360-kilometre (225 miles) pipeline began in 2008.

The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day rising to 1.8 million bpd, which represents the bulk of the UAE's current production of around 2.5 million bpd, Sheikh Hamad said.

The Habshan-Fujairah pipeline will carry oil from fields in Abu Dhabi on the Gulf to Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman.

Sheikh Hamad is hopeful that the new pipeline will "increase the geopolitical importance of Fujairah," which "lies on a meeting point of east and west maritime routes."

The emirate, which has a population of 170,000 people, wants to take advantage of its location to become an export hub for oil and gas.

Fujairah is already the world's third largest centre for ship bunkering after Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and Singapore, and wants to rise up on the list.

At the port that was opened in 1982, expansion work is in full swing, including the construction of two new platforms to receive large tankers, as well as large reservoirs, bringing the storage capacity to around 11 million cubic metres.

The Ruler is expecting more investments in the petroleum sector after the emirate established last year a zone for oil industries.

Last year also, Fujairah opened a new power plant fed by a pipeline carrying gas from Qatar through Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

A terminal to export liquefied natural gas is planned in Fujairah by the Abu Dhabi investment arm, Mubadala, and International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), which also belongs to Abu Dhabi, the richest emirate of the UAE.

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