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Pushing limits, settings standards. An industry opinion by Andrew Drayton.

Pushing limits, settings standards. An industry opinion by Andrew Drayton.

British-born Andrew Drayton, CEO at Star Energy Oiltanking (SEOT), initially worked in the UK, climbing through the ranks to become wholly responsible for the Immingham terminal. Moving to the UAE nine years ago, he continued his career progression and in February was appointed CEO of SEOT at the company’s terminal in Jafza. Andrew takes up the story.

After three-and-a-half years at a reputed firm, I took an appointment with Oiltanking GmbH of Germany, the second largest bulk liquid storage company globally, as GM Assets and Operations Manager covering the Middle East and Africa businesses based in JLT. An internal restructure at the end of 2018 led to my most recent appointment in February as CEO of the Star Energy Oiltanking terminal here in Jafza.

It has been a long time since I last had responsibilities for a terminal, but after the initial trepidation and following just a couple of months, I am enjoying the challenge and looking forward to the future with the team here at Star Energy Oiltanking. SEOT provides vital downstream energy logistics services, and is the bulk storage terminal of choice at Jafza for a whole range of refined petroleum products. The previous incumbent did an excellent job and left me with a very capable and willing team of people. The organisation does not need any radical changes. We just need to pursue continual improvement across all aspects of our business to ensure that we remain profitable in what is a highly competitive arena.

In fact, there are some tremendous opportunities for growth. Particularly exciting at the present time is Phase 7, which will allow us to access the chemical storage market for the first time and provide us with the vehicle to further diversify and grow our market share.

Aerial view of the Star Energy Oiltanking terminal in Jafza

The present and the future

In the Middle East, the petrochemical industry is growing. ADNOC has got the Al Ruwais Petrochemical area and has announced expansion plans worth AED165.29billion ($45 billion), we potentially see some opportunities there, as well as in Jebel Ali, because there will definitely be import and exports requirements. Five years from now, in the Middle East, we see the petrochemical industry doubling in size, and past that, of course, it depends on global circumstances. However, in around 10 years’ time, we expect competition to have increased in the petrochemical industry, mainly because there are currently a lot of projects going on outside of the Middle East. Globally, the industry needs to be careful to not get into an over-capacity situation; producing more than is actually needed.

Pipelines in Star Energy Oiltanking LLC

There will always be an end-user requirement, and that is also something we want to be able to be in a position to exploit. At the moment, we need to establish Phase 7, but we do have a master plan of introducing Phase 8 – we are prepared to do further expansion with regards to chemical storage if there is business.

A positive collaboration

Our relationship with Jafza is at the heart of our on-going growth. It is a longstanding professional relationship, which we continually strive to develop to further enhance interactive processes for the benefit of both parties. Jafza was, for instance, instrumental in granting the wayleave for berth 7 access. This additional critical berth access will enable us to continue to manage our existing volumes and allow us to seek growth; a mutual benefit for both SEOT and Jafza.

See Also

It is important that we maintain our competitive edge in the downstream industry and be continually aware of the local, regional and international landscape to ensure that we can respond to the changing needs of our clients. Interaction with our larger stakeholders is also key; there has to be a mutual understanding so that agreements can be made to support our development and share our successes.

However, it needs to be noted that some progress in the world, such as renewable fuels and electronically driven vehicles, whilst being positive for the environment, will be potentially negative for the industry as a whole. Electric vehicles, for instance reduce the requirement for gasoline and/or diesel, which will have an impact on us as a downstream provider. If there is no end-user to produce the product, there is no need to store it.


We see most growth coming from the Middle East and Africa, and will continually seek ways to improve our safety management systems and standards in the region in order to achieve our target zero objectives and maintain our high occupancy levels and customer satisfaction. In addition, we are developing our next waves of strategies to ensure the longevity and profitability of the business for our shareholders, employees and stakeholders.

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