Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Adnoc has relaxed restrictions on the entry into Abu Dhabi ports and the Fujairah terminal of non-Qatari flagged or owned vessels going to or from Qatar.
This potentially opens the way for the co-loading of Abu Dhabi-origin crude with crude from Qatar.
Adnoc informed customers that a circular issued on 8 June denying entry into any of the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports and Fujairah terminal for all vessels arriving from, or destined to Qatar, regardless of its flag, will no longer be applicable.
Fujairah has since declared itself open to enquiries for bunkering by vessels going to or from Qatar, as long as they are not Qatar-flagged.
Abu Dhabi exports crude from three facilities within the emirate’s geographical boundaries — Jebel Dhanna, Zirku Island and Das Island. It also exports its flagship Murban crude from its terminal in the emirate of Fujairah, located on in the Gulf of Oman.
The new directive maintains a ban on the entry of Qatari flagged or owned vessels into Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports and the Fujairah terminal.
A diplomatic fallout between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain on one side and Qatar on the other, has created operational challenges for Asia-Pacific refiners, which often co-load crude from the four countries onto very large crude carrier (VLCC) or Suezmax tankers to benefit from freight savings.
A number of Japanese and South Korean refiners — which lift both Qatari and Abu Dhabi crude — remain uncertain if the circular does in fact allow co-loading of Qatari and Abu Dhabi crude on non-Qatari flagged or owned vessels. Refiners in Asia-Pacific will choose to proceed with caution and seek further clarification from Adnoc on the matter, traders said.
Saudi Arabia has so far not adopted an outright ban on non-Qatari flagged or owned vessels from co-loading, but requires the ships to anchor and seek clearance prior to berthing.