Dr. Dawood Nassif is the Board Director for Bapco & the General Manager of nogaholding.
1. What are the key challenges and opportunities of Bahrain refining and petrochemicals industries?
I believe Bahrain faces the same refining challenges as refineries worldwide. This includes changing product specifications, maintaining profitability in a very competitive environment and making right products for market demand. It is challenging to ensure we are providing the product mix that the market will demand in the next 10 to 15 years, for example electric vehicles and self-driving vehicles. We also cannot predict the impact that gas will have on the market.
2. What does the expansion of the Sitra oil refinery mean for the future of refining in Bahrain?
The investment in the Bapco refiner has fundamentally three objectives. Firstly objective of the Sitra investment is to upgrade the bottom of the barrel into more valuable metal distillates, secondly a desire to totally become environmentally compliant and thirdly to be energy efficient.
3. It’s been commented that Bahrain is becoming increasingly reliant on its downstream industry – what’s behind the decision to invest downstream?
This is part of our on-going programme to make sure that the refinery stays competitive in the market. We had a major investment nearly 10 years ago when we installed a new hydrocracker followed by another new project. These projects are a continuation of our efforts to continuously invest in and upgrade our refining facilities to meet the new product demand and new product specifications
4. Do you think Bahrain will become increasingly involved with Liquefied Natural Gas in the future?
As you are aware we are building a LNG terminal for imports, we are just building a terminal at the moment and have not gone as far as contracts for importing LNG. We are essentially buying an insurance policy for the country and when needed we can go ahead and import LNG but we need to have the facilities available to do so. So this is not an immediate plan but is part of the whole countries strategic energy programme. LNG is in the not too distant future, the terminal will be ready by late 2018 but it will be several years before we import LNG.
5. Why do think events such as MERTC are important for this industry?
These events, like others all over the world are so important because they provide updates on the latest available technology and latest automation. Events like MERTC help to shape the vision and the future of proposed plans in the industry.