Dubai, November 13, 2020 - The Middle East, with its vast reserves of cheap crude oil, will press ahead with refinery expansion, setting the stage for a surge in the region's oil product exports, even as the transition to cleaner fuels has curbdemand for oil products.
Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could increase their refining capacity by 1.8 million barrels a day from 2019 levels by 2025, according to statistics released on November 13.
Refineries in the Middle East, most of which are wholly or partly owned by national oil companies, have access to cheap crude.
One result of the refinery expansion in the Middle East is that oil product exports from the region will surge from 2021 if large refineries come on stream as planned and demand recovery remains weak.
Demand for oil has grown slowly over the past few years as more and more industries have made the transition to clean fuels and renewable energy, and demand for all petroleum products in the Middle East has fallen this year, except for the direct burning of crude oil for power generation.
Starting next year, light oil exports, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, will increase, while sales competition between Europe and Africa will heat up between the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, Europe and Asia.