ADNOC and Linde Mull Ruwais Nitrogen Expansion

20.11.2017 -

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Linde have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a nitrogen expansion at Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

As a first step, Linde will carry out a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for new air separation units, which are intended to satisfy ADNOC’s expansion requirements for nitrogen from its gas processing, refining and petrochemicals businesses.

The companies have been partners for the past 10 years in a joint venture, formerly called Elixier but known since October 2017 as ADNOC Industrial Gases. The jv is owned 51% by ADNOC and 49% by Linde.

“In line with its 2030 smart growth strategy, ADNOC plans to expand and diversify its downstream refining and petrochemicals activities, while also optimizing efficiency and costs. As part of our strategic plan to increase volumes of industrial gases, the Ruwais Air Separation Unit Project will be carried out in two phases, each with the capacity to produce 70,000 m3/hr of nitrogen,” explained Abdulaziz Al Hajri, ADNOC’s downstream director.

The group said further steps will follow to meet expected growing demand for industrial gases from its downstream operations. As part of its 2030 strategy, ADNOC aims to expand petrochemical production from its current 4.5 million t/y to 11.4 million t/y by 2025.

In another Ruwais project, in July ADNOC and Borealis signed a framework agreement to prepare pre-FEED work for Borouge 4, which would comprise a mixed feedstock cracker and downstream units for polyolefins and other derivatives. The complex, which will be integrated with ADNOC’s Takreer refinery, is due to go on stream around 2023.

In separate news, ADNOC signed another memorandum of understanding this month, with Spanish group Cepsa. The companies will evaluate building a linear alkyl benzene (LAB) complex in Ruwais and plan to progress basic engineering in 2018.

The facility, which will be integrated with the Ruwais refinery complex is expected to use Detal-Plus technology, jointly developed by Cepsa and UOP.

Al Hajri said the agreement provides the opportunity to work with Cepsa to identify areas for mutual collaboration that will contribute to ADNOC’s plans to maximize the value from every barrel of oil produced.

Musabbeh Al-Kaabi, CEO petroleum and petrochemicals at Mubadala Investment Company, added that the cooperation will provide a base to meet growing demand both in the region and in Asia, while also maintaining Cepsa’s global leadership position in LAB. The Spanish group is wholly owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.

The LAB market in the Indian Ocean basin is seen as expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2016 and 2030, according to market research group, Colin A. Houston & Associates.

The Asia-Pacific region is the largest and fastest growing market for LAB, with high demand from industrial and household cleaning products. ADNOC said Abu Dhabi’s strategic location and strong transport links allowed easy access to serve this market.