May 14 (UPI) -- More than $45 billion in investments over the next five years could position the United Arab Emirates as a global refining powerhouse, its oil company said.
"Given the projected increase in demand for petrochemicals and higher value refined products, we are repositioning ADNOC to become a leading global downstream player," Ahmed al-Jaber, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. and the Emirati minister of state, said in a statement.
ADNOC said it would spend $45 billion over the next five years to expand its refining and petrochemicals operations at al-Ruwais, a city in western Abu Dhabi.
ADNOC and its subsidiaries process 10.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and has a refining capacity of 922,000 barrels per day. By 2025, the company said it would expand its refining capacity by more than 65 percent.
According to economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Oman is a member, Emirati oil consumption increased 2.7 percent year-on-year.
"The new refinery, coupled with other projects underway within the Ruwais complex, will significantly increase the capability, flexibility and output of Abu Dhabi's refining operations by adding to the range of crudes that can be processed and that in turn enables the export of increased volumes of the U.A.E.'s high-value Murban crude," the company stated.
Murban crude averaged $66.31 per barrel in March, the last full month for which data are available. Brent crude, the global benchmark, averaged $66.72 per barrel in March.
The state-owned oil company in Abu Dhabi opened its first bidding round in April to grant access to its oil and natural gas reserves. ADNOC estimated that, based on existing field data, the blocks up for grabs "hold multiple billion barrels of oil and multiple trillion cubic feet of natural gas."
Nearly all of the Emirati reserves are in Abu Dhabi. Oman is party to OPEC's effort to drain a surplus from the five-year average in global crude oil inventories through production cuts. March oil production averaged 2.86 million bpd, down from the full-year 2017 average of 2.9 million bpd.