ADNOC invests US$3.5bn to upgrade Ruwais refining capabilities

Desalination Unit RuwaisThe Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has confirmed significant progress made on its “Crude Flexibility Project” (CFP), with 73 per cent project delivery of ADNOC’s ongoing upgrade of refining capabilities in Ruwais and strengthening Ruwais’s role as a critical driver for industrial growth for Abu Dhabi and the UAE

ADNOC has predominantly refined Murban grade crude for more than 40 years, extracted from its onshore fields in the Abu Dhabi Emirates. The CFP allows the processing of the Upper Zakum grade, which is extracted from the offshore oil fields of Abu Dhabi, along with more than 50 other types of various crudes.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and ADNOC Group CEO, said, “We continue to focus on stretching the margin of every barrel of oil we produce to maximise the value of our resources, while also making responsible investments in the current market environment.

“This investment is another step in our progress to develop Ruwais into a dynamic, global hub for downstream activity, further strengthening ADNOC’s role as a major driver of the UAE’s long-term industrial growth and economic diversification.”

In 2018, ADNOC announced plans to diversify its processing of feedstocks. The CFP upgrade initiative of US$3.5bn is a core driver of ADNOC Downstream’s smart growth strategy for 2030. The project will increase the value that ADNOC derives from each barrel of oil, both by boosting the refining margins and by making Murban crude more high-value available for export.

A lot of the physical infrastructure needed for the CFP has been put in place now. During the last two months, major structural elements, notably two new fractionators and 24 atmospheric residue desulfurizer reactors were installed at the site.

From South Korea, each of the 317-tonne fractionators has been transported to the UAE. It took three weeks to install the 80 m structures through June and July 2020. To allow for further refining, they will serve to separate the component products within the crude oil.

Once completed in mid-2022, as part of the 840,000 bpsd refinery in Ruwais, the CFP will allow ADNOC to process up to 420,000 bpsd (barrels per stream day) of heavier and sourer grades of crude oil.

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