FACTBOX-Firms spur Fujairah oil storage expansion

March 27 (Reuters) - Oil storage capacity just outside the Strait of Hormuz is important for companies which ship the fuel to Asia, especially after Iran last year threatened to block the world's most important oil shipping route. The port of Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates, opened a pipeline last year that will allow Abu Dhabi crude to be exported without having to sail through Hormuz. Plans at the port include petrochemical facilities, floating LNG terminals and even grain silos. Firms provided updates this week at a Fujairah bunkering and oil forum organised by Conference Connection. Below are the latest details of activities at Fujairah as well as Sohar, Oman: PORT OF FUJAIRAH * Oil storage capacity reached just below 5 million cubic metres (mcm) last year, port data showed. It is expected to double before 2016. * Oil trader Vitol has around 1.170 mcm of storage through Fujairah Refinery Company Ltd (FRCL), which is owned by Vitol Tank Terminals International (VTTI) and 10 percent by the Fujairah government. * Vopak Horizon Fujairah Limited (VHFL), a joint venture between Netherlands-based Royal Vopak, Dubai's Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), the government of Fujairah and Kuwait's Independent Petroleum Group added 600,000 cubic metres of capacity last May. * Vopak is studying further expansion to add another 855,000 cubic metres of storage in 2014. There is no start date for construction. * Vopak Horizon's tanks are leased out by oil traders such as Trafigura, Litasco, Total's Totsa as well as refiner Phillips 66 and oil companies PetroChina, BP and others. * UAE-based trader Gulf Petrochem's 412,000 cubic metres of oil storage came online in mid-January. It plans an extension to take capacity to over 600,000 cubic metres. The project will be financed by bank loans, company executives say. * UAE fuel retailer Emarat has 263,000 cubic metres of oil storage capacity. * Azeri national oil company Socar's trading arm plans to build 641,000 cubic metres of storage capacity in a joint-venture with Swiss trading house Aurora Progress and the government of Fujairah. It will consist of 20 tanks for clean and dirty products. The first phase with 114,000 cubic metres came online in March 2012 and the second phase with 232,000 cubic metres is due to come online this year and will include clean tanks. * Marine fuel supplier Chemoil Energy has storage of around 90,000 cubic metres and a 580,000 cubic metre expansion is expected to be commissioned in mid-April. * Singapore-based Concord Energy and China's Sinopec have started building oil storage. The first phase with 880,000 cubic metres of capacity is due to come online in 2014, while the remaining 245,000 cubic metres is scheduled for 2015. * ENOC has oil storage through its joint venture with VHFL and also owns 217,000 cubic metres of capacity at 11 tanks through subsidiary Horizon Terminals. * IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company has started construction of 630,000 cubic metres of oil storage, with a first phase of 330,000 cubic metres due to come online by mid-2014. * International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) is studying plans to build a refinery due to be operational by 2017. PORT OF SOHAR * Sohar, a deep-sea port in the Sultanate of Oman, is managed by Sohar Industrial Port Company, a joint venture between the government of Oman and the Dutch port of Rotterdam. * It has 1.285 mcm of oil storage, all allocated for clean products and all currently leased out and full, trade sources said. * Gunvor has around 180,000 cubic metres of storage for distillates and gasoline. * Shell has 485,000 cubic metres, of which 325,000 cubic metres is for gas-to-liquids (GTL). * Oman Trading International (OTI) has around 200,000 cubic metres of storage for light and middle distillates while Glencore's 114,000 cubic metres of storage is mostly for naphtha and gasoil. * Oman Aromatics, part of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) also leases 303,000 cubic metres of storage space at the port. * Sohar is also home to a 116,000-barrels-per-day refinery, whose capacity Oman wants to boost by some 50,000-60,000 bpd by 2016. Traders say there is also additional storage at the refinery. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Jason Neely)