The UAE plans to expand its crude storage at the Arabian Sea port of Fujairah and new berthing facilities are being built to allow VLCCs, officials said Tuesday.
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Fujairah, the UAE's only major port on the Arabian Sea, has grown rapidly to become the world's second-largest bunkering fuel hub after Singapore.
The UAE plans to expand Fujairah's crude storage to 12 million barrels, from 8 million barrels, a government official said on the sidelines of a conference.
The emirate has eight storage tanks, each with 1 million barrels capacity, and foundations have been laid for four new tanks, said Salem Abdo Khalil, a technical adviser to the Fujairah government.
No date has been set for completion of the new storage, he said.
The tank farm is supplied by the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline. The 400 kilometer 42-inch pipeline can move up to 1.5 million b/d, or around 70% of Abu Dhabi's production from its onshore oil fields at Habshan in the western region, allowing it to bypass the Strait of Hormuz bottleneck.
Meanwhile, construction staff have been mobilized to build new berthing facilities capable of handling VLCCs at Fujairah, a source close to the project said.
The project, VLCC-1, is being built by a consortium of Belgium's Six Construct and Singapore's Rotary Engineering, which signed a contract with Port of Fujairah authorities in late August, the source said.
VLCC-1 will have about 450,000 cubic meters of storage. According to the source, energy trading company Vopak has committed to around 60% of the throughput for the berth. The remainder is open to other trading companies.
Construction should be complete in mid-2016. Port authorities are expected to make a decision before the end of 2015 on whether to further expand berthing facilities for a so-called VLCC-2 project with the same contractors, or to release a fresh tender.
Fujairah's oil terminal 1 was commissioned in 2006, with three 15 meter berths and a throughput capacity of 15 million mt/year, handling tankers of up to 110,000 dwt.
Oil terminal 2 was commissioned in 2010 with four berths of 18 meters and a throughput capacity of 25 million mt/year. It can handle tankers up to 180,000 dwt.