Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI) said on Sunday it intends to almost doubling its oil storage capacity at the port of Fujairah, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, and could start construction by early 2014.
VTTI is jointly owned by the world’s largest oil trader Vitol and Malaysian shipping company MISC Bhd. The Fujairah terminal, 90% owned by VTTI, while the remaining 10% held by the emirate of Fujairah, has 1.18 million cubic meters of storage capacity in a total of 47 tanks.
According to a VTTI spokeswoman, the Dutch company has plans to increase oil storage capacity by 1 million cubic meters.
“VTTI is looking into the project. It has to go through a phase where it needs to get permits, finalise plans and then the construction can start,” she said.
“It would start to be developed from early 2014,” she added.
The emirate of Fujairah is trying to establish itself as an oil storage and trading hub on the Indian Ocean. A government official recently announced that the emirate is exploring crude oil and may seek investors for a petrochemicals plant.
According to Salem Kelil, technical adviser to the local government, Fujairah is conducting seismic surveys to find potential deposits at both on and offshore locations. Speaking at a conference in Dubai last week, he said that the emirate has drilled three wells and hasn’t found any oil yet.
One of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms, Fujairah is nestled between the Indian Ocean coast and the Hajar Mountains, the source of stones used to create the artificial islands off the coast of neighbouring emirate of Dubai. Fujairah’s location outside the Strait of Hormuz energy-shipment chokepoint has helped it attract international oil traders and fuel-storage tank operators to the emirate.
Kelil said that Abu Dhabi’s government-owned International Petroleum Investment Co. plans to build an oil refinery in the emirate that will produce about 70,000 barrels a day of naphtha, a refined product which is used as feedstock in petrochemical plants.