Gulf refiners urged to explore new markets

(AFP)   

 

 

The UAE yesterday urged Gulf oil refiners and petrochemicals producers to work for upgrading their products to push into new markets as most of them are pressing ahead with plans to expand their refining output capacity.

Minister of Energy Mohammed bin Dhaen Al Hamili said this could be done through upgrading performance, cutting costs and unifying specifications of the products in the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.


Al Hamili was speaking at the fourth meeting of the GCC Technical Committee for the Specifications of the oil and gas industry, which met in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution.

He said such meetings should be held on regular basis as they are crucial in achieving a higher degree of GCC co-ordination in hydrocarbon specifications.

“Unified specifications of the oil and gas industry in the member countries greatly contribute to opening new markets for our products, increasing their competitiveness and boosting production,” Al Hamili said in his address, read by Awad Mohammed Al Otaiba, an adviser to the minister.

“They will also enable us to reduce production costs and upgrade efficiency and this will allow us to support the domestic economy and push into international markets as a single economic bloc capable of competing with global products.”

Al Hamili urged all refiners and oil companies in the UAE to participate more effectively to the GCC specifications programmes by attending all meetings and conferences, and contributing to chalking out strategies in this field.

“All relevant companies in the UAE and other GCC states should consider creating units that will oversee and follow up the quality and specifications programmes in the region’s hydrocarbon industry,” he said.

Besides the UAE, representatives from oil and gas companies from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman were present at yesterday’s meeting, which covered co-operation in unified specifications and quality.

The talks coincide with plans by the GCC countries to expand their crude production capacity and refining output to face growing domestic and external demand. Expansions also cover petrochemicals and other products.

Official figures showed the six members, which control more than 40 per cent of the world’s proven oil deposits, are expected to add nearly two million barrels per day to their refining production in the next few years.

The projects, which will cost more than $50 billion (Dh183.6bn), will boost their combined refining output by nearly 45 per cent to 6.3 million bpd in 2010 from around 4.33 million bpd at present, showed the figures by the Emirates Industrial Bank and the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. EIB said the increase would be a result of expansions at existing refineries and the construction of new units in the GCC.

It gave no cost figures but the Kuwaiti-based Oapec said the GCC and the remaining Arab countries are projected to pump in excess of $93bn into refining projects in the next five years.

“The GCC’s combined oil refining capacity is expected to jump 45.5 per cent to 6.3 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2010 with the addition of new refineries and increase in the production capacity of existing refineries,” EIB said.

“As of 2005, the combined refining capacity of GCC countries stood at 4.33 million bpd… the potential increase is a result of four new refineries planned in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, as well as of renovating old refineries and increasing their production capacity in the UAE and Kuwait… there are 20 refineries in the GCC countries now, and are expected to climb to 24 in 2010.”
 
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