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Forget Singapore: Dubai to be trade hub
Advocates point to expanding port capacity and firms boosting trading operations, while critics lament lack of regulation and transparency and say some companies still favour Singapore and Europe.
September 28, 2010 4:23 by Reuters
A surge in oil refining in India and the Middle East could eventually turn Dubai into a trading hub to rival Singapore, but much depends on the emirate’s capacity to deal with derivatives for hedging price risk.
At the centre of the world’s top oil producing region, Dubai’s role has focused on oil sales rather than trade.
But increased refining activity and new port capacity could change that.
Companies, dedicated to more complex dealings than direct transactions between the producer and the end-user, have already added staff over the last year.
Strategically located to handle the results of a rise in Middle Eastern and Indian refining, some of Dubai’s advantages, traders say, outweigh those of Singapore, which is the main alternative to U.S. and European-based oil dealing.
“In 10 years, Dubai has the capacity to outperform Singapore, because they (Singapore) lack storage capacity,” said a trader from a Chinese company.
Over the last year, Dubai’s Jebel Ali port has become a trading hub for base oil, used in the production of lubricants.
Capacity at Fujairah, the world’s No. 3 ship-refuelling hub, has also expanded and is expected to continue to grow over the next five years.
This extra storage could accommodate some of the surge in capacity from India as well as additional refined products from national oil companies in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
Middle East oil product output is set to rise by 16 percent to 9.6 million bpd in 2012 from this year, taking net exports to 3.1 million bpd then from 2.6 million bpd now, Singapore-based consultancy FACTS estimated.