Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Will ENOC/EPPCO Stations Reopen In The Northern Emirates?

Old Petrol Pump 1
(Photo credit: Gerry Balding)
The news broke a few days ago. with news outlets all reporting ENOC was seeking 'alternative sources' for condensate to feed its 120,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Jebel Ali. Yesterday, late in the afternoon (too late, for instance, to give pesky local reporters a chance to ask questions) it issued a press release announcing it had closed a deal with Qatar's Tasweeq to secure a supply of 20,000 barrels per day of condensate.

This, according to ENOC, avoids having to import Iranian condensate. To quote the release:
ENOC diligently adheres to all prevailing laws and regulations to ensure that its business is conducted in line with applicable sanctions, and has been continually studying the sourcing of alternative economically viable condensate feedstocks for its refinery in Jebel Ali.  
As a result of various steps implemented by the management, ENOC has imported 20% less Iranian condensate in the second half of 2012 compared with the first six months of the year. One of the challenges in managing the crude imports was the availability of alternate grades in required volumes and prices. 
By exploring partnerships with new suppliers, ENOC is highlighting its commitment to continually optimise its refinery operations, adherence to the highest ethical standards in all operational aspects and creation of long-term value.
Some commentators have inferred this may lead to the shuttered ENOC/EPPCO petrol pumps in the Northern Emirates re-opening, but there's no evidence in here at all of that. ENOC's under pressure to reduce its loss-making refining operations - hence buying crude from Iran in the first place - but has now come under pressure to find alternative sources.

That's not about to make things any better 'oop North' and mean they can start selling profitable petrol from their forecourts. It's more likely to be a 'like for like' pricing deal - and it would have been interested to be a fly on the wall of some of those meetings to see quite who was pulling the strings around here.

Perhaps an answer to that comes in the shape of those recent ENOC comments about alternative sources of supply, which coincided with a visit to the U.A.E. from David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence...

Anyway, it doesn't really matter that much. Everyone's got used to there being no EPPCO stations and although the ADNOC stations are busy, the long and ironic queues from the original 'petrol shortage in oil producing country' glee are a thing of the past.
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