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Middle East petrostates moving beyond crude oil

Diversification brings in Japanese partners, including at Dubai refinery

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, emir of Qatar, center, attends the opening ceremony of Laffan Refinery 2 with other stakeholders in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 20.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Middle Eastern countries are weaning themselves off crude oil production and pouring more resources into manufacturing value-added petroleum products, which could lead to new sources of procurement for resource-poor nations like Japan.

Dubai's $1.5 billion Laffan Refinery 2 officially opened for business on Monday. Qatar Petroleum is picking up 84% of the tab, while the rest is financed by foreign concerns. Qatar needs international partners for such specialized technology, Qatar Petroleum CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said at the ceremony marking the facility's completion. He added that the state-owned company intends to continue the joint venture as long as it is a win-win.

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