Abu Dhabi Seeks Higher Crude Export Revenue in Refinery Upgrade

  • Upgrade of Ruwais refinery to allow higher Murban exports
  • Adnoc to boost exports of its highest quality crude into 2020s

Abu Dhabi, which holds most of the oil reserves in the U.A.E., plans to boost exports of its highest quality crude into the next decade following a $3.1 billion upgrade of its Ruwais refinery.

Flagship Murban crude fetches the highest price of the emirate’s three grades because it’s easier to refine and yields greater amounts of premium fuels like gasoline. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. plans to upgrade Ruwais on the United Arab Emirates coast, allowing it to switch to cheaper lower-quality alternatives from offshore fields, the company said in a statement. The refinery currently processes only Murban crude, equivalent to about half of total production of the grade.

The move will allow Abu Dhabi to generate higher profits from sales to nations including China where demand growth is set to increase. Abu Dhabi is part of U.A.E., the OPEC member which produces just under 3 million barrels a day of crude, of which about half is Murban grade. The company has been considering the plan to process offshore crudes at Ruwais since at least 2014.

The refinery upgrade will allow Adnoc to process crude from the offshore Upper Zakum field or similar grades at Ruwais, which can process about 817,000 barrels a day. A joint venture of Samsung Engineering Co. of Korea and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. will work on the project, Adnoc said.

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