Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has announced its plan to invest $3.1bn to upgrade its Ruwais oil refinery located in Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

The refinery upgrade project, known as the Crude Flexibility Project (CFP), is intended to introduce crude processing flexibility and free up more Murban grade crude.

Planned to be completed by the end of 2022, the CFP will allow ADNOC’s Ruwais Refinery-West complex to process up to 420,000 barrels per day of the Upper Zakum crude, or similar grades.

ADNOC said that the project is part of its downstream refining strategy, which is intended to boost margins by introducing asset flexibility and product marketing initiatives.

The CFP involves installation of an Atmospheric Residue De-Sulphurisation (ARDS) unit which will be designed to enable the refinery to process the Upper Zakum crude, or other similar crudes from the market.

The company said that the ARDS technology is designed for upgrading medium to heavy petroleum oils and residues to environmentally friendly transportation fuels. It is also used to partially convert the residues to produce low-sulfur fuel oil and hydrotreated feedstocks.

ADNOC downstream directorate director Abdulaziz Abdulla Alhajri said: “Enabling the Ruwais Refinery-West to process Upper Zakum, or similar, medium sour crude, in place of Murban light sweet crude, will allow us to extract greater value from our crude resources.

“It will mean we can maximize the benefit of price differentials to enhance refinery margins, improve the middle distillate products and release valuable Murban crude into the market.”

As part of the CFP, ADNOC has awarded engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to a joint venture between South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Netherlands’ CB&I.

Separately, ADNOC has signed a 15-year gas sales agreement with the Dubai Supply Authority (DUSUP) to help meet Dubai’s energy needs.   

ADNOC earlier announced its 2030 smart growth strategy, which aims to access undeveloped tight reservoirs and also tap into its gas caps.

The strategy also includes expansion of sour gas production while ensuring delivery of economic gas supply to meet the country’s growing energy demand, by 2030.

Image: The Ruwais oil refinery located in Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. Photo: courtesy of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.