U.A.E.’s Fujairah Port Seeks Two-Thirds Boost in Fuel Storage

The United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, which lies outside the Strait of Hormuz oil-shipment chokepoint, aims to raise fuel storage capacity by about two thirds as tank operators expand at the site, an official said.

The port, the U.A.E.’s largest outside the Persian Gulf, will raise tank capacity to 10 million cubic meters by 2014 from about 6 million cubic meters now, General Manager Mousa Murad said in a March 12 interview. The emirate may also add power facilities and a natural gas import plant at the site, he said.

Fujairah, one of the U.A.E.’s seven sheikhdoms, is nestled between the Persian Gulf state’s Indian Ocean coast and the Hajar Mountains, which provided the rocks for the artificial islands off the coast of richer neighbor Dubai. The port is seeking to compete with Singapore and Rotterdam as a hub for bunker fuel. Traders in Fujairah supply about 24 million metric tons of the shipping fuel a year, Murad said.

Vitol Group and Royal Vopak NV lease fuels storage capacity in Fujairah. State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, or Socar, is building a terminal that will receive its first oil-product shipment within the next two weeks, it said this week.

Murad said his forecast for growth assumes the completion of all tank terminal projects planned in the emirate. That includes the potential addition of tanks on reclaimed land at the Vitol and Vopak sites, he said.

Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital and its largest emirate, is building a 1.5 million barrel-a-day oil pipeline to Fujairah that will allow U.A.E. crude to bypass the Strait of Hormuz once the $3.3 billion project is completed in the first half. Abu Dhabi’s government-owned International Petroleum Investment Co. is planning a $3.5 billion refinery at Fujairah to process crude from the link into motor fuels for sale in local markets.

The plan for a 200,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery may be expanded to allow for additional production for export, Murad said. IPIC, as the investment company is known, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the plant, which is scheduled to be finished by about 2016.

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