Saudis, U.A.E. Carry Weight in Middle East


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates- The Middle East is a region of 186 million people spread across 13 countries, but two nations – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – provide much of the lubricants that keep its vehicles and machinery running.

The important role played by the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia was evident from presentations given here Sept. 12 and 13 at the ICIS Middle Eastern Base Oils and Lubricants Conference. Together the two countries have 22 blending plants with capacity to produce 1.1 million metric tons of finished lubes per year, Emirates National Oil Co. Lubricants Manager Mohammed F. El Sadek told an audience on the first day of the conference.

That accounts for 38 percent of capacity for the entire region, not including Israel, according to data reported the following day by Samir Nawar, general manager of marketing and sales for Saudi Arabian Lubricating Oil Co. Moreover, as Nawar noted, lubricant output in some nations – especially Iraq – is running significantly below capacity. Actual production for the region, excluding Israel, is running at 1.9 million tons per year.

Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are producing at relatively close to their capacities of 575,000 tons and 500,000 tons, respectively. But Saudi Arabia consumes just 310,000 tons per year, Nawar said, meaning it is a net exporter of 265,000 tons. The United Arab Emirates consumes 60,000 tons, leaving it with a whopping surplus of 440,000 tons.

Of course, not all of those exports stay in the region. El Sadek noted, for example, that the United Arab Emirates has long been a conduit for trade to Africa and Central Asia. Still, the role played by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is important as the rest of the region consumes more lubes than it produces.

Related Topics

Market Topics