By ANTHONY DiPAOLA
Abu Dhabis largest oil refinery
is preparing to boost
production of the industrys lowest-sulfur diesel within
three months as standards for the fuel rise, two people with
knowledge of the matter said.
The emirates 400,000-bpd plant at Ruwais will only
produce diesel with 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur by
July, said the people, who asked not to be identified because
theyre not authorized to speak to journalists.
Ruwais will stop making 500 ppm diesel and is selling its
remaining supplies of that grade, they said.
Middle Eastern oil-producing countries are expanding refining
and chemicals processing
to cut reliance on crude exports. At the same time, the
plants need to improve the standards of the fuels to meet Europe
an regulations and help curb
air pollution throughout the Persian Gulf.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is in the process of adding
417,000 bpd of refining
capacity at Ruwais by
August in an expansion
that will enable the
plant to double gasoline output to meet rising domestic
demand. The company is upgrading a hydrotreating unit to
produce the cleaner-burning diesel, said the people.
Adnoc sold 80,000 metric tons of 500 ppm diesel to the
trading unit of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. for loading in March
and in April. The company agreed to sell one 40,000 ton
diesel cargo for April loading at a premium of about
$2.80/bbl to Middle East benchmarks, traders said this week.
Another cargo of the same size went for a premium of about
$3/bbl, traders said March 18.
A media official with Adnoc referred questions to the
companys retail fuel division, where no one answered
two calls to the public relations department or a third call
to the switchboard. A public relations official at
division didnt have
an immediate comment when contacted by phone today.
Saudi Aramco, as the state oil company is known, is also
expanding capacity to produce clean diesel. It already
exports the low-sulfur fuel from a 400,000-bpd joint-venture
with Total that began
production at Jubail on the Persian Gulf coast last year. The
company is set to open another plant of the same size at
Yanbu on the Red Sea this year, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi
said Jan. 30.
Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital and largest
sheikhdom, holds about 6% of world oil reserves. The emirate
has an 80,000 bpd refinery
located near the capital
city. The Ruwais plant is about 240 kilometers (150 miles)
west of Abu Dhabi city along the Persian Gulf coast.