WITH the announcement of a new US$11.7 million project to increase bulk tankage facilities at Jebel Ali, Dubai has taken the first steps in an ambitious plan to raise the port to the status of leading international oil storage centres such as Singapore and Rotterdam. The project will raise the total terminal capacity of the government-owned Emirates Petroleum Products Company (EPPCO) to 2.5 million barrels when the new facilities come on line in March next year. The terminal design has a built-in provision for further expansion. The new facilities will enable EPPCO to receive, store, blend, handle and re-export a variety of petroleum products to serve its Middle East and international clients. There are also plans to upgrade on-site facilities at Jebel Ali to include a product testing laboratory. In the first phase of the project, an additional capacity of one million barrels will be added at the existing 160,000 sq metres terminal in Jebel Ali. The contract for the construction of additional tanks has been awarded to CBI Eastern Anstalt, a subsidiary of Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. EPPCO also has announced that it will enter the aviation market by introducing refuelling services at Dubai International Airport in an agreement with Caltex.