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Refinery plan under review

By Nissar Hoath

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) said it will delay or postpone an investment plan for the construction of a refinery in insurgency-hit Balochistan province of Pakistan, one of its mega projects widely publicised.

The Sheikh Khalifa Point Refinery is a joint venture between Ipic and Pak-Arab Refinery Company (Parco), a joint venture between Pakistan and Abu Dhabi. The project was announced several years ago with its inauguration set for 2007, but has been delayed for various technical reasons.

Ipic Managing Director Khadem Al Qubaisi told Emirates Business the project has been delayed until some of the major issues pertaining to it are sorted out.

Without going into details, he said there are some hurdles that are preventing for the project to kick off.

He said: "We are facing some problems and some issues in Pakistan. There are few things happening that also involve Pak-Arab Refinery Company (Parco), which is a joint venture between two governments of Pakistan and Abu Dhabi. It is not a private company, and any decision it takes has to be taken at government level."

"Unfortunately what happened was that many actions that came from Pakistan really disappointed us as shareholders. Because of that we are little bit delaying or postponing this project until we sort out major and fundamental issues."

The $5 billion (Dh18.3bn) refinery with planned 250,000 barrels per day was originally planned for Balochistan's port town of Gwadar at Arabian Sea, where a deep-sea port is being developed that has been a centre of contention between the government and Baloch nationalist forces seeking control over their natural resources. The project was later moved to Hub, an industrial city of Balochistan close to Karachi.

Referring to Fujairah Refinery project, Al Qubaisi said that was too being reviewed for some reasons.

He said: "We are reviewing various options for the Fujairah Refinery project. Initially, we started with a 500,000bpd capacity, but based on the situation and based on the demand and supply in the region, we decided to review the project. We are reviewing the figures; we are reviewing the configuration and other options. The project is under study."

About the cost, he said, it was started with an estimated figure of $6bn to $7bn, "but now the market situation has changed, therefore I cannot give you an exact figure". He also said the Abshan-Fujairah crude oil pipeline project was on track. The pipeline will carry 1.5mbpd Adnoc crude from Abshan fields to a storage facility being built at Fujairah.

"The Abu Dhabi has tasked Ipic to build a pipeline, which will transport 1.5mbpd crude from Abshan to a storage facility at Fujairah.