UAE state oil giant ADNOC plans to invest $45 bln in downstream expansion

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to invest $45 billion over the next five years to expand its refining and petrochemicals operations, it said on Sunday.

Striving to become a global player in the downstream sector, the state oil giant wants to double its refining capacity and triple petrochemicals output potential by 2025 as it looks to capture new growth markets, ADNOC’s Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber told Reuters on Saturday.

On Sunday, al-Jaber presented ADNOC’s downstream expansion strategy at an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, alongside CEOs of oil majors such as BP, Total and Eni , which have secured long-term oil production deals in the UAE, a key Gulf OPEC member.

The centrepiece of ADNOC’s strategy is the Ruwais industrial complex, which ADNOC wants to turn into the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in the world, al-Jaber said at the conference.

ADNOC plans to expand refining and petrochemical operations at Ruwais by adding a third refinery to boost capacity by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2025, lifting total refining potential to 1.5 million bpd.

“We are extending an invitation to existing and new partners to join with us in building a world-leading refining and petrochemicals complex and manufacturing ecosystem here in Ruwais,” al-Jaber said.

The company, a major Middle East producer that pumps about 3 million bpd, will also make overseas investments to secure access to growth markets, it said on Sunday.

The traditionally conservative national oil company has been shaking up operations since the 2016 appointment of al-Jaber as CEO.

Now ADNOC is seeking to become more competitive, with its downstream shift focusing on Asian markets where oil demand is still growing.

It listed 10 percent of its fuel distribution business late last year, set up a new trading unit to handle its crude oil and refined products while also expanding partnerships with strategic investors.

This year it finalized 40-year concession agreements for its offshore oilfields with both Western oil companies and Asian buyers.

“Everything we are doing here is centered around ensuring that we are operating in the most efficient manner,” al-Jaber told Reuters, adding that it intends to extract maximum value from every barrel produced.

The company said in November that it plans to spend more than $109 billion in the next five years to boost gas output and invest in international downstream activities.

On Saturday India’s oil minister, on a visit to the UAE, told Reuters that there was a consensus between Saudi Aramco, ADNOC and Indian companies to form a joint venture for India’s Ratnagiri oil refinery.

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