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Sheikh Al-Sharqui officially opens Port of Fujairah’s new $175m VLCC berth

Sheikh Al-Sharqui officially opens Port of Fujairah’s new $175m VLCC berth
The Port of Fujairah’s (POF) position as an influential energy trading hub has been bolstered following the inauguration of its new $175m VLCC jetty.

The ruler of the UAE emirate, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqui, officially opened the berth in a traditional Emirati ceremony at the government-owned port 130 km east of Dubai on Wednesday.

POF reclaimed more than 10.25m sqm of land using 22m tonnes of rock to reach the 26 m deep-water draft necessary for 24 hour VLCC operation.

The berth, which accepted its first vessel on August 24 and is the first of its type on the Arabian Peninsula’s eastern coastline, enables the loading or discharge of up to 2m barrels of crude within 24 hours. It can also accommodate aframaxes and suezmaxes as well as tankers of 363,000 dwt and up to 344 m.

The investment leverages POF’s strategic position 70nm south of Straits of Hormuz on the Gulf of Oman and at the heart of rising energy trade corridor stretching from Beijing to Lagos.

POF gm Captain Mousa Murad said the berth positioned the port to cash in on the 48% increase in global energy consumption by 2040 forecast by the US’ Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The backbone of Fujairah’s economy, POF is already established as the world’s third largest oil storage and petroleum trading centre and the second largest bunkering port behind Singapore.

“The new VLCC Berth significantly enhances the Port of Fujairah’s commercial ability and is a necessary step in ensuring that the port, which already operates a unique Matrix Manifold System linking all terminals, continues to be recognised as a world-class facility, enhancing the UAE’s position as one of the most influential players in the global energy market,” Murad said.

As well as linking markets such as China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, and India which is expected to be the fastest growing oil consumer up to 2040, the Fujairah facility will feed the Middle East’s insatiable energy needs; the region could account for 18% of oil demand growth between 2015-2021, analysist predict. In 1973 its consumption was less than 1%.

“The Port of Fujairah’s launch of the first VLCC Berth on the Indian Ocean is integral to supporting the UAE’s energy demands and keeping pace with what is an intensely competitive sector,” said H.H. Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, chairman of Fujairah’s Department of Industry and Economy, and chairman of POF.

“Since the Port started full operations in 1983, we have realised one ambitious goal after another and the new VLCC Berth illustrates our determination to continually elevate Fujairah and the UAE on the regional and international energy map.”

POF started operation in 1983 as a small container terminal with just 370 mtr of quay space and a maximum draught of 12.5 m. Today its more than 6km of quay serve one of the fastest growing oil storage and bunkering operations in the world.

The 400km Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP) from Habshan has its terminus at POF with 8m barrels capacity.

From catering for 550,000 cu m of storage from eight tanks in 1994, POF today caters for nearly 10m cum from 338 tanks.

Plans to increase storage capacity to 14m cm by 2020 are underway. In the last nine years, Fujairah’s Oil Tanker Terminals (FOTT) have grown from three berths handling 400 vessels a year and two storage facilities with an annual throughput of 7m tonnes to nine berths, 2,230 vessels in 2015 and 12 storage facilities with total throughput around 56m tonnes.