The Middle East’s emergence as a major refined products exporter will be both delayed and muted, according to Singapore-based FACTS Global Energy (FGE). In its latest Annual World Refining Outlook, FGE says that “the expansion in Middle East products exports (primarily diesel) will start post-2015, but will be tempered by rapid domestic demand growth.” The report notes that 2012 saw strong Middle Eastern demand growth, resulting in gasoil imports. Asia as a whole is expected to continue “long on transportation fuels, but importing greater volumes of LPG and naphtha.”

FGE sees refining capacity additions in the Middle East and Asia being balanced out by plant closures elsewhere in 2012. “Around 1.7mn b/d of distillation capacity was shut down in 2012,” says the report, “bringing the total since 2008 to 4.2mn b/d. Another 1mn b/d has already been confirmed for 2013-15.” Most of the plant closures were in the US and Europe. Meanwhile, says the report, “investment in new capacity continues unabated elsewhere, with around 1.7mn b/d of distillation capacity coming on-stream in 2012. Not surprisingly, most of this was located in Asia.” (CONTINUED - 254 WORDS)