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First flows for Abu Dhabi’s ADCOP bypass pipeline

26 June 2012

Reuters reported on June 24 that the first consignment of oil had flowed through the UAE’s strategic export pipeline linking Abu Dhabi’s western oilfields to the Emirates’ eastern bunkering hub in Fujairah. The Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP) project, a 400-km pipeline from Habshan to Fujairah with a capacity of 1.5 million bpd, will allow the UAE to deliver oil while bypassing the Strait of Hormuz.

The ADCOP main oil terminal in Fujairah
The ADCOP main oil terminal in Fujairah

About one million barrels of oil flowed through the new pipeline in its first test operation. The pipeline is scheduled to be completed in July and the project comprises the pipeline, pumping stations, an oil terminal at Fujairah, offshore loading facilities and associated facilities.

“Today oil has been received at the main oil terminal in Fujairah with 1m barrels is coming in,” Reuters reported citing a source directly involved in the project. “The plan is to load the first oil tanker around July 1.We will slowly increase it to 1.5 million bpd.”

ADCOP was scheduled for completion by the end of 2010 but has been delayed by a range of problems, including the difficult mountainous terrain it crosses.

Earlier in the year, Bloomberg reported that ADCOP had also suffered from engineering delays as a result of possible inexperience of the contractors working on the project, highlighting a risk arising from a trend in the GCC upstream sector to award complex projects to the lowest bidder.

Bloomberg, citing two sources familiar with the project, reported that the pipeline was blighted by up to 270 construction errors discovered in an inspection last year, 50 of which have been deemed critical. The main contractor announced that construction was completed in March 2011, which suggests that substantial subsequent remedial work has been required.

The pipeline is part of a plan to see Fujairah – once one of the UAE’s smallest and sleepiest emirates – compete with Singapore and Rotterdam as a global oil bunkering capital.

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