Abu Dhabi National Oil Company aims to deepen ties with Japanese petrochemicals firms as it looks to expand its downstream activities and make better use of advanced technology, it said on Friday.
“As we increase our focus on the growing demand for high-value petrochemical products, especially from Asia, we are introducing new partnership opportunities to expand and strengthen our downstream business,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Adnoc group chief executive.
“To do so, we are keen to partner and work with those who stand ready to join us on our downstream expansion journey by sharing advanced technology, contributing capital and enabling market access.”
Demand from Asia for petrochemicals and plastics is forecast to more than double by 2040, Adnoc said. In the Asia region, growth is set to be led by China, which accounted for 13 per cent of petrochemical oil consumption in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency; Korea, which accounted for 8 per cent, and Japan, which accounted for 6 per cent. Outside the region, the European Union-led demand, accounting for 14 per cent of total consumption.
Japan is one of the UAE’s strongest trading partners, with bilateral trade volumes reaching $25 billion (Dh91.81bn) in 2016, state news agency Wam said in December.
In 2015, Japan was the largest importer of crude oil from the UAE, which accounted for 26 per cent of Japan’s total crude oil imports that year.
Mr Al Jaber met with Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, on a recent state visit with Adnoc officials to discuss partnership and investment opportunities.
During the visit, Adnoc officials met with Japanese companies such as industrial engineering firm Chiyoda Corporation, Inpex, Mitsui, Idemitsu, JXTG Holdings, Marubeni, Mizuho Bank and the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and explored opportunities to tap the fields of artificial intelligence, big data and predictive analytics to support its business.
Adnoc plans to invest more than 40 per cent of a total $109bn capital expenditure over the next five years to diversify and grow its downstream businesses as part of a strategy to triple petrochemical production by 2025.
It is building the largest integrated refining and petrochemical site in the world, at Ruwais, aimed at converting 20 per cent of Adnoc’s crude to chemicals.
The company is also on track to expand crude capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day to support future demand, particularly in Asia, Adnoc said.
“The UAE has deep-rooted relations with Japan that span over four decades,” Mr Al Jaber said. “At Adnoc, we place great importance on our strategic partnerships with Japan’s energy sector, which has contributed to a strengthening of the economic ties between our two countries.”