Enoc signs R&D agreement with Indian Oil Corporation

The two firms will partner on developing low-sulphur cylinder oil

A visitor passes ENOC-branded oil barrels stored at the Emirates National Oil Co. lubricants and grease manufacturing plant in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, March 12, 2012. ENOC, as Dubai's government-owned refiner is known, will expand the plant's capacity to 250,000 tons a year by 2014, it said. Photographer: Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg
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Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company has signed a partnership agreement with state-owned Indian Oil Corporation to expand its presence in South Asia's largest market while building synergies on research and development infrastructure.

The two partners will look to jointly develop cylinder oil that has a sulphur cap of 0.5 per cent compared with the current 3.5 per cent as part of efforts to meet a global deadline by the International Maritime Organisation restricting the presence of the polluting chemical in bunker fuel.

"Enoc's alliance with one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies, IOC, will help mitigate these environmental risks through world-class research & development and manufacturing that meets the IMO standards," said Enoc group chief executive Saif Humaid Al Falasi.

India is amongst the biggest buyers of oil in Asia, with Middle Eastern crude forming the bulk of its imports. Middle East energy firms have increasingly begun to eye the Indian products market, with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Saudi Aramco for instance, looking to jointly develop a $44 billion refining and chemicals complex with a consortium of domestic state-backed refiners.

Other UAE companies such as Adnoc Distribution, a unit of the state oil firm, are looking to enter the highly lucrative lubricants segment in Asia's third largest economy.

In an interview with The National, Adnoc Distribution's deputy chief executive John Carey said the company's future partnerships in India, where it is currently positioning itself, would typically be with private players.