Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) plans to double production of sulphur in the coming decade on the back of growing demand in local and foreign markets, a senior official said.
It is also targeting new markets in Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.
“Today, we produce 6 million tonnes of sulphur per year but over the coming decade we expect this number to almost double,” said Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, gas management director at Adnoc while speaking at the Middle East Sulphur conference.
He said they are trying to increase the volume of sulphur produced from the existing and upcoming sour gas processing facilities to meet the growing local energy needs and those of Adnoc’s international customers.
“Not only will this further cement our position as the number one sulphur exporter, it will also make us the largest producer of sulphur in the world,” he added.
The company is also planning to enter into partnerships in markets importing its sulphur to manufacture phosphate based fertilisers in Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.
“Our partners will enjoy a reliable supply of competitively priced sulphur, backed by robust infrastructure and logistical networks. This will enable Adnoc to easily respond to market conditions, quickly and efficiently.”
Adnoc believes sulphur is a commercially viable commodity that offers the company opportunities to create added value from its resources and improve margins.
“In the lower for longer oil price environment, it is imperative to effectively manage costs and seize value opportunities where they arise,” Al Suwaidi said. “It is about unlocking the full potential of every single asset and maximising returns for Abu Dhabi, Adnoc and the nation.
A by-product of oil and gas industry, sulphur is widely used in agriculture as a fertiliser and also in the construction and in the industrial sector.
In the UAE, sulphur is produced at Habshan and Shah fields in the western region of Abu Dhabi. Adnoc is planning to expand the Shah gasfield to increase the sour gas processing by fifty per cent of the existing capacity of one billion cubic feet per day.
Al Suwaidi said the expansion of sulphur processing capabilities opens up new business possibilities for Adnoc to capitalise on.
“In addition to expanding our exports of sulphur we will support the development of a local sulphur products industry. This will not only generate additional revenue, it will also contribute to the UAE’s strategic objective of diversifying the nation’s economy.”
According to Dr Peter Harrison, a sulphur expert, the UAE is expected to become the biggest exporter of sulphur in the world by 2020.
“According to current forecasts, the UAE will continue to see supply growth throughout the next year with the region becoming an increasingly important origin for sulphur supply in the global market.”
The total production of sulphur in the world is estimated to be about sixty million tonnes, Dr Harrison said at the conference.