Fujairah on Wednesday launched the UAE's first very large crude carrier (VLCC) jetty on the Indian Ocean by investing Dh650 million with the aim to boost its influence as an oil-trading hub.
The VLCC berth will load or discharge up to two million barrels of crude oil within 24 hours and can facilitate tankers up to 344 metres long and up to a dead weight tonnage of 363,000 tonnes. Its location provides direct access to Asian and African markets.
The port is already the world's second largest bunkering hub, and from catering for 550,000 cubic metres of storage from eight tanks in 1994 is now today catering for nearly 10,000,000 cubic metres from 338 tanks.
The tanker BW Peony sailed to Fujairah from Basra oil port to unload on Tuesday, according to ship tracking data on Bloomberg.
"The cargo marks the first full-sized delivery to the new jetty," Captain Mousa Murad, general manager, Port of Fujairah.
Fujairah Government reclaimed over 10,250,000 square metres of land using more than 22 million tonnes of rock to reach the 26-metre deep-water draft necessary for VLCCs for 24 hours marine operation.
The Port of Fujairah is strategically positioned at the heart of the booming energy trades along the South-South Corridor, which stretches from Beijing to Lagos.
The VLCC berth marks a key step in enabling the port to evolve its offering. For example, China is the world's second largest oil consumer, India is expected to be the fastest growing oil consumer up to 2040, while the Middle East could account for 18 per cent of oil demand growth between 2015-2021.
"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," said Capt Murad. The UAE, Opec's fourth-largest crude producer, has most of its oil in Abu Dhabi. Fujairah is the country's only emirate, which is fully outside the 'Strait of Hormuz,' a shipping chokepoint at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf through which about a third of global oil shipments pass, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
"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 Shaikh Saleh bin Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of the Department of Industry and Economy, and Chairman of Port of Fujairah.
In the last nine years, Fujairah's Oil Tanker Terminals have grown from three berths handling 400 vessels a year and two storage facilities with an annual throughput of 7 million tonnes to nine berths, and over 2,230 vessels in 2015 for 12 storage facilities, with total throughput around 56 million tonnes.
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