Adnoc Steams Ahead With Ruwais Expansion

18.05.2018 -

Adnoc Steams Ahead With Ruwais Expansion


Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has announced it will spend $45 billion to expand its Ruwais petrochemical complex, adding more than 15,000 jobs and boosting GDP of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 1% per year. The announcement draws on the company’s broader “Strategy 2030” approved late last year by the emirate’s Supreme Petroleum Council.

In a talk given at the Downstream Investment Forum held last weekend in Abu Dhabi, CEO Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber said the new complex will house the world’s single largest integrated refinery, and its projected downstream plants will make it an attractive destination for petrochemicals.

The company’s upstream, business will be a core part of its DNA,” the ADNOC chief said, but stressed that the sharpest growth will be seen downstream, where demand for petrochemicals is expected to double in the next 20 years.

At the heart of the Ruwais plans is a widening of refinery output by more than 65%, or 600,000 bbl/d, by 2025. Along with doubling crude oil refining capacity, the expansion is planned to treble petrochemicals output from 4.5 million t/y to 14.4 million t/y The new refinery, the site’s third, will expand overall throughput to 1.5 million bbl/d.

Also on the drawing boards is an aromatics unit to produce 1.6 million t/y of benzene, toluene and xylene. Benzene output is to be processed into linear alkyl benzene (LAB) under an agreement with ADNOC’s Spanish sister company Cepsa. A feasibility study has been completed, and the project is now ready to progress to front end engineering design (FEED). The plant is expected to have a capacity of 150,000 t/y LAB.

The new Ruwais complex also will be home to one of the world’s largest mixed feed crackers with capacity for 1.8 million t/y of ethylene. ADNOC also has plans for a new petrochemicals derivatives and conversion park designed to boost manufacturing capabilities in construction chemicals, oil and gas chemicals, detergents and packaging materials, among other products.

At the Abu Dhabi forum, Belgian compounder and distributor Ravago announced that it will build and operate a state-of-the-art polyolefins compounding plant in the new compelx. The company said it will also explore potential collaboration opportunities with ADNOC. At present, Borouge, the joint venture with Borealis, dominates the chemicals landscape at Ruwais.

Among other plans for the site, ADNOC is also proposing a fertilizers joint venture with Morroco’s OCP Group, extending their existing long-term sulfur offtake deal, which was announced last December. The jv would build on ADNOC’s sulfur production, ammonia and gas expertise and shipping and logistics network and also on OCP’s access to large phosphate resources. Plans envision two fertilizer production hubs: one in the United Arab Emirates and one in Morocco, using both existing and new assets.

This agreement aligns with ADNOC’s plans to increase fertilizer production by at least 50% from its current level of 7 million t/y. OCP has been engaged in a large-scale development program. The first phase was completed this year, taking the group’s capacity to 12 million t/y and rock export capacity to more than 18 million t/y.

Commenting on ADNOC’s expansion drive for Ruwais, Middle East experts suggested that Abu Dhabi wants to keep in step with its neighbor Saudi Arabia in attracting new investment. Its goal, they said, is to be involved in the entire supply chain, as a hedge against the uncertainty of today’s energy markets.