The completion of Project Black Pearl, expanding Vopak Horizon Fujairah’s capacity to store crude oil, makes it one of the largest independent oil terminals in the world
Vopak Horizon Fujairah proudly holds the accolade for the first independent crude oil capacity in the Middle East with open access and VLCC access.
Following the completion of its 7th expansion phase, known as Project Black Pearl, the facility, which started operations in 1998, now boasts a total storage capacity of 2.6 million m3.
The expansion exclusively focused on crude oil storage and added 478,000 m3 of storage spread across five tanks. The project also involved the addition of one manifold and a pipeline connection to the VLCC jetty as well as other jetties in the Port of Fujairah. All crude oil handled in the new tanks will
be loaded and discharged through the jetties of the Port of Fujairah. The port opened a new VLCC jetty in September 2016 and the terminal was the launching customer for it.
Historically, the facility only stored petroleum products due greater demand for more crude storage prompted executives to diversify their market offering. The expansion was a pragmatic one. Fujairah is the country’s only emirate fully outside the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a third of global oil shipments pass through. Its location also provides direct access to markets in Asia and Africa, and it is this strategic location
that attracts greater exports and imports. In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Cees de Greve, general manager for Vopak Horizon Fujairah, says that this strategic positioning outside the Gulf allows for greater optimisation of crude oil flows.
‘We see a market for independent storage in the region, close to the source.
‘Vopak Horizon Fujairah was the first to start its business in Fujairah and has built a solid customer base over the years. Since the start of our company in 1998 we have expanded with seven expansion phases.
‘We have a growth strategy and we continue to explore opportunities.’
Each of the tanks has a capacity of 100,000 m3 and the manifold, with three large crude oil pumps, connects the tanks to the two pipelines
which can transport the crude via the matrix manifold to the VLCC jetty and other jetties in the port.
While oil demand in the region has suffered from the effects of lower oil prices since 2014, there is renewed hope that it will recover from
2017 onwards thanks to higher international prices for crude oil as well as strong expansion of the petrochemical sector.
According to the IEA, oil demand will increase by 2.2% to 2022. Ambitions are high for the role that this facility will play in laying the foundation for
Fujairah to cement its position as a trading hub for crude oil in the Gulf region.
‘This latest expansion strengthens the emirate as one of the world’s leading hubs for crude,’ explains De Greve.
‘Vopak Horizon Fujairah has been at the origin of Fujairah’s success as a global oil hub.
‘It is indeed a genuine success story. It was established in the late nineties as the first independent oil storage terminal strategically located just outside the Gulf.’
Yusr Sultan Al Junaidy, CEO of Horizon Terminals, says: ‘Fujairah will further boost its influence as an oil-trading hub with the addition of the region’s first crude-shipment jetty and expanded storage facilities. Vopak Horizon Fujairah will be an integral part of that growth over the next few years.’
Executives are seeking to diversify the terminal’s offering further and regularly explore growth opportunities related to the whole product range for oil, chemicals and gases. In addition to the capacity expansion Vopak Horizon Fujairah commissioned, as the first terminal in Fujairah, an Electronic Noses network. This solar powered and wireless system is an early warning and preventive system for potential stench outside the terminal. To prevent stench in the community the network continuously monitors the rise and spread of gas emissions that could evaporate from the terminal, but also emissions that originate from sources outside the terminal boundaries and disperse over the terminal.
De Greve adds: ‘At Vopak Horizon Fujairah we create peace of mind by being passionate in delivering reliable and safe storage. We are grateful for the support from authorities and his highness the Ruler of Fujairah and are proud to operate as leading storage terminal in the Emirate of Fujairah to serve this important region.’