. Energy News .

Gulf states embark on oil refinery drive
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (UPI) Oct 19, 2011

Iraq is driving to build new oil refineries to increase capacity by 740,000 barrels per day as its postwar economy swells, part of a multibillion-dollar program under way across the Persian Gulf region.

The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries reported in June that Arab countries' refining capacity is expected to increase by 5 million bpd to 12.4 million in the next three years.

More than half the refineries in the region were built before the 1990s. "So refiners have had to work hard to keep up with higher global emission standards," the Middle East Economic Digest reported.

"They are also attempting to refine heavier crudes, which will account for an increasingly bigger share of production over time."

Rapidly growing populations and rising domestic demand for refined products are far outstripping the refining capabilities of these countries, the largest crude oil-producing region in the world.

This is particularly true in Iraq, where antiquated, war-battered oil industry infrastructure and a serious security problem combine to form a major threat to national reconstruction.

The extent of the security dangers were illustrated by bombings that knocked out the Baiji refinery near Baghdad, with a capacity of 150,000 bpd, in February. Other refineries have also been attacked by insurgents.

The refinery expansion program is intended to reverse the global trend of having the main downstream sectors in areas of high consumption, such as the United States, Europe and Asia.

Much of the additional refining capacity will be in the gulf region, led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

"With the huge program of investments in new refineries, upgrades and expansions, the gulf states are set to capture more value from their hydrocarbon resources," MEED reported.

"The projects will simultaneously help to cut the region's dependence on imported refined products and boost exports."

Plans to increase Iran's refining capacity are based largely on upgrading and expanding existing plants. But these are likely to be impeded because international economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations in June 2010 have scared off potential foreign investors.

Iraq's 10 existing refineries have a combined capacity of more than 900,000 bpd but actual production is usually as much as 40 percent below that.

Baghdad's master plan unveiled in 2010 was to build four refineries, costing $23 billion, at Kirkuk in the north, Karbala in central Iraq, Daura and Nasiriyah in the south. But in April the government announced plans for another three refineries, each with a capacity of 50,000 bpd.

The largest facility, costing $8 billion, will be at Nasiriyah, with a capacity of 300,000 bpd.

Like other new refineries planned across the region, Nasiriyah will include a hydrocracker unit, that breaks down the complex carbon molecules in crude oil to produce more light and medium distillates for which there is growing global demand.

The Baiji, Basra and Daura refineries are being upgraded with cracker units.

Production of light "sweet" crude, like that produced by Libya and West Africa and widely sought in the United States and Europe, is likely to decline soon.

That will leave refineries to handle heavier crude that need much more processing to produce products like jet fuel, diesel and high-grade gasoline.

The region's older refineries don't have this capability and cannot meet the domestic demand for refined products, which is growing at a rate of 6 percent a year in some Middle Eastern countries.

MEED reports that many of the new refineries planned in the Persian Gulf will be able to process heavy crude, "a key consideration given that oil will become heavier as firms have to drill deeper for it."

The gulf states have a combined refining capacity of 6.25 million bpd through crude distillation units the first step in the refining process.

All told, MEED says, "there is $250 billion worth of projects planned or under way in the gulf's downstream oil sector."

Of these, Saudi Arabia has projects worth $60 billion, the most ambitious program in the region. That includes a $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex at Rabigh, a 50-50 venture between state-owned Aramco and Japan's Sumitomo Chemicals.

The kingdom plans to add another 1.2 million bpd of CDU capacity by 2016 at plants in Jubail, Yanbu and Jizzan, each with a capacity of 400,000 bpd.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Philippines seizes Chinese boats
Manila (AFP) Oct 19, 2011 - The Philippines said Wednesday it had seized 25 small Chinese boats after its navy confronted a larger fishing vessel in disputed South China Sea waters.

Tuesday's encounter followed a series of incidents between the two nations in the strategically vital South China Sea this year that have led to a spike in diplomatic tensions.

Philippine authorities said the bigger Chinese vessel was towing the 25 wooden, motorised dinghies near Reed Bank, an atoll just 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan.

"The Chinese vessel strayed into our waters," Philippine foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez told AFP.

However he sought to downplay the significance of the encounter, describing it as a "little incident" and saying the Philippines was considering returning the wooden boats, which had no people on them.

The bigger vessel cut loose the dinghies when a Philippine navy gunboat approached the Chinese party, regional military chief Major General Juancho Sabban said.

"We want to make it clear that there was no hostile intention on our part," Sabban told AFP, dismissing some local media reports that suggested the gunboat had deliberately rammed the main Chinese fishing vessel.

"The normal procedure is to approach them and inform them that they are in Philippine territory and, if they are fishing, they should have permission from the government.

"As the gunboat was approaching, the mother ship suddenly cut off the towing lines and left behind the small boats. We might have scared them off."

Philippine authorities said they did not know why the larger vessel was towing so many small boats.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Sun Yi said his country's military attache to the Philippines had yet to report on the incident.

"Until then, I cannot comment on this," he told AFP.

China claims all of the South China Sea on historical grounds, including waters close to the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian neighbours.

Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Oil prices move higher despite Chinese growth data
New York (AFP) Oct 18, 2011
Oil prices made a jump late Tuesday to finish sharply higher, following stock markets upward despite data showing China's economy slowed in the last quarter. Prices got a late-day boost as well by a report that France and Germany had agreed to boost the EU rescue fund to 2.0 trillion euros ($2.74 trillion), adding confidence that European leaders would take firm action on the eurozone crisis ... read more

Putin hits EU energy market reforms

Links in the chain: Global carbon emissions and consumption

Perry vows to unleash US energy boom

Australian parliament passes divisive carbon tax

Iraq oil exports in September lowest in seven months

Bionics Reduces Battery Filling Time

Gulf states embark on oil refinery drive

Improving the physics of grocery store display cases to save energy

Vestas receives 99MW order for Texas wind-energy project

GE invests in Indian wind power

Euro Bank: Wind policy 'direction' needed

Natural Power US to act as Owner's Engineer on 2.1GW Wyoming wind farm

US solar firm launches trade action against China

Solar Double Cropping Project

Suniva Chosen to Supply High Performance Solar Panels to Innovative Residential Leasing Program

Standard Solar Brings Solar Energy to The Brick Companies

Pakistan repairs nuclear power plant leak

China, Taiwan sign nuclear safety pact

TEPCO asks for $9 bln in Fukushima aid: reports

Sanctions, flaws hobble Iran nuclear program: study

MixAlco Voted Most Transformative Technology of 2011

Codexis and Raizen to Develop First Generation Ethanol

Greenleaf Biofuels Announces Closing of Full Project Funding

Gevo Awarded Contract to Supply Jet Fuel to USAF

China's first space lab module in good condition

Takeoff For Tiangong

Snafu as China space launch set to US patriotic song

Civilians given chance to reach for the stars

Insoluble dust particles can form cloud droplets affecting global and regional climates

Famine-hit Somalis struggle as aid efforts fall short

S.Africa's new climate policy to curb industry emissions

Climate change poses immediate threat to health: experts


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement