Dubai: Fujairah Oil Technology, a 50:50 joint venture between Nevada-based SulphCo Inc and the Government of Fujairah, will commission a Dh91 million ($25 million) oil-upgradation plant in September this year, said a top official.

"This is the first such facility in the Middle East, capable of treating 210,000 barrels per day (bpd). Construction of the oil treatment plant is going ahead as per schedule and we are currently shipping our patented Sonocracking technology in Fujairah," SulphCo president Peter Gunnerman told Gulf News in a phone-in interview recently. "If everything progresses as per plan, then we will be able to commission the facility by August/September this year." SulphCo has developed a patented safe and economic process employing ultrasound technology to desulfurise and hydrogenate crude oil and other oil related products.

The company's technology upgrades sour heavy crude oils into sweeter, lighter crudes, producing more gallons of usable oil per barrel. From time to time, the company may issue forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties.

Complete treatment

"We are using our own Sonocracking technology in the plant which is environment friendly," he said.

"By deploying three professionals per shift, the plant will be able to treat 210,000 bpd. The plant takes just thee days to complete the treatment of a shipment, so the tankers have less turnaround time."

He said, cost of treating a barrel of crude could vary from $0.18 to $0.20 including electricity, manpower and raw materials, while the upgrade value of the oil is boosted by $10 per barrel.

Planning is also underway to install an additional 200,000 to 300,000 barrels of processing capacity in Fujairah by the first quarter of 2007 following successful implementation of the initial 210,000 barrel per day operation, with an additional 200,000 to 300,000 of processing capacity by the end of 2007.

"The expansion will require an additional $25 million investment in the plant, Gunnerman said.

He said, his company would set up more such ventures in the UAE, once the present plant succeed.

Fujairah is the world's second largest bunkering port and has large storage units for vessels.