Dubai — Ecomar Energy Solutions has expanded production capacity at its refinery at Fujairah on the UAE's east coast to 20,000 b/d on the back of increased demand and improved margins since the first week of November.
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Capacity was increased from 15,000 b/d, and output is up to 19,000-20,000 b/d from 15,000 b/d, Leigh Shaddick, Ecomar's trading director, told S&P Global Platts on Nov. 24. He added that Ecomar currently has orders for fuel oil extending to the end of Q1 2021.
"Now is the time to build, costs are low," Shaddick said. "We see plenty of demand. Refining margins are slightly better since the first week of November. News of the vaccine was really helpful."
Pfizer and BioNTech said on Nov. 9 that their COVID-19 vaccine prevented more than 90% of infections.
Ecomar plans to further expand capacity to 60,000 b/d by the beginning of 2022, when low sulfur fuel oil may be added to the product list, Shaddick said. The refinery currently produces naphtha, kerosene, gasoil and residual fuel, and also has floating storage off Fujairah for oil products. Storage capacity inland remains 130,000 cu m (1.09 million barrels).
Fujairah has two other refineries, operated by VTTI and Uniper Energy.
Energy Solutions was set up in 2013 and the refinery started in April 2020 when WTI crude prices turned negative.
"It was an opportunity to fill up our tanks, a lot of people took advantage of that," Shaddick said. "We started at the bottom and it's gotten better and better."