The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, signed a project development agreement with Spain’s Cepsa for a “new, world-scale” linear alkylbenzene, LAB, facility in ADNOC’s refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais, ADNOC announced Monday.
LAB is a raw material commonly used in the manufacture of biodegradable household and industrial detergents, and cleaning products.
The LAB project is part of ADNOC’s goal to “significantly enhance and expand its refining operations and capabilities to support its downstream plans,” a press release said.
The agreement follows the signing last November of a memorandum of understanding between ADNOC and Cepsa to evaluate the setting up of a LAB facility in Ruwais, the statement said, adding after the successful completion of a feasibility study, the project was ready to move to the Front End Engineering Design, FEED, stage.
The facility is expected to have a production capacity of 150,000 tons per year of LAB upon completion.
Abdulaziz Al Hajri, downstream director at ADNOC, said the development of a new LAB facility would “enable the emergence of a surfactants cluster in our new Ruwais Derivatives and Conversion Parks, diversifying the number and type of industries being developed there, leading to the creation of an expanded and advanced petrochemicals ecosystem in the UAE”.
Cepsa CEO Pedro Miro said the Ruwais petrochemicals cluster added to the company's plants in Spain, Canada, and Brazil, and allowed access to high growth markets to the east of the Suez Canal.
The signing of the project development agreement comes a day after ADNOC unveiled its plans to invest AED 165 billion (US$45 billion) alongside partners, over the next five years, “to become a leading global downstream player”.
The announcement was made at the ADNOC Downstream Investment Forum, which took place on Sunday in capital Abu Dhabi.
“Building on the existing strengths and competitive advantages of the Ruwais Industrial Complex, ADNOC will create the world’s largest and most advanced integrated refining and petrochemicals complex,” the company said in another statement.
ADNOC said, through a combined program of strategic partnerships and investment, it would “increase its range and volume of high-value downstream products, secure better access to growth markets around the world and create a manufacturing ecosystem in Ruwais that will significantly stimulate in-country value creation, private sector growth and employment”.
The strategy is expected to add more than 15,000 jobs by 2025 and contribute an additional 1 percent to GDP per year.
ADNOC is the world's 12th largest oil producer with 3 billion barrels per day.
Cepsa is a Spanish integrated oil and gas company, wholly-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.
By Hale Turkes