Middle East

Adnoc’s Ruwais refining upgrade 73pc complete


The Crude Flexibility Project is part of Adnoc Downstream’s 2030 smart growth strategy and will enhance its capabilities to refine over 50 types of crude

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has made significant progress on its ‘Crude Flexibility Project’ (CFP), with 73 per cent project delivery of the ongoing upgrade of refining capabilities in Ruwais.

For more than 40 years, Adnoc has predominantly refined Murban grade crude, extracted from its onshore fields in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The CFP allows for the Upper Zakum grade, extracted from Abu Dhabi’s offshore oil fields, to be processed along with over 50 other types of different crudes.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Adnoc Group CEO said: "We continue to focus on stretching the margin of every barrel of oil we produce to maximize the value of our resources, while also making responsible investments in the current market environment. This investment is another step in our progress to develop Ruwais into a dynamic, global hub for downstream activity, further strengthening Adnoc’s role as a key driver of the UAE’s long-term industrial growth and economic diversification."

In 2018, Adnoc announced plans to diversify the feedstocks it processes. The $ 3.5-billion CFP upgrade initiative is a core driver of Adnoc Downstream’s 2030 smart growth strategy. The project will increase the value Adnoc derives from every barrel of oil, both by boosting refining margins and by leaving more high-value Murban crude available for export.

Much of the physical infrastructure required for the CFP has now been put in place. Major structural elements, notably 2 new fractionators and 24 atmospheric residue desulfurizer reactors have been installed at the site over the past two months.

Each of the 317-tonne fractionators was transported to the UAE from South Korea. Installing the 80-m structures took three weeks across June and July 2020. They will serve to separate the component products within the crude oil to allow for further refining.

Upon completion in mid-2022, the CFP will allow Adnoc to process up to 420,000 bpsd (barrels per stream day) of heavier and sourer grades of crude oil, as part of the 840,000 bpsd refinery in Ruwais.

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