The shift in refining capacity from developed OECD regions to developing countries has become more evident over the past year, according to OPEC. In the World Oil Outlook 2012 (WOO 2012), published on 8 November, the organization predicts that almost 7.2mn b/d of new crude distillation capacity will be added to the global refining system in the period to 2016. Of this, the greatest portion will be built in Asia and in particular China and India, which together account for 3.2mn b/d of additional capacity. Middle East refining is expected to increase by almost 1.8mn b/d in 2012-16 (MEES, 9 November).

In the Middle East, along with Latin America and the former Soviet Union (FSU), capacity expansion is being driven by “a combination of local demand and policies aimed at capturing the value added through refining ‘at home’…increasing supplies of domestic (and mainly) heavy crude streams.” This particularly applies to the Middle East, where “demand increases by some 600,000 b/d in the medium term, whereas crude distillation capacity rises by 1.8mn b/d.” (CONTINUED - 617 WORDS)