The process of industrialization gathered momentum after the formation of the federation in 1971. By 2002, manufacturing was second only to the oil sector in contributions to economic output. To diversify the economy, in the early 1990s the UAE introduced new industries, including aluminum, cement, pharmaceuticals, fabricated metals, processed foods, fertilizer, and explosives. Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP rose from 3.8% in 1980 to 7.7% in 1990 to 8.7% in 1995 to 15.1% in 2002.
The Ar-Ruwais industrial complex in Abu Dhabi includes an oil refinery with a processing capacity of 120,000 barrels per day; a fertilizer factory, with a production capacity of 1,000 tons of ammonia and 1,500 tons of urea per day; and a gas liquefaction installation. In June 2002 agreement was reached on a contract to expand the refinery capacity Ruwais refinery to 500,000 barrels per day to be completed by 2005. The UAE has five other smaller refineries: In Abu Dhabi, a 88,5000 barrels per day capacity facility run, like the Ruwais refinery, by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); in Fujairah, a 90,000 barrels per day refinery run by Metro Oil; in Dubai, the 120,000 barrels per day Jebel Ali condensate refinery run by the Emirate National Oil Company (ENOC), first opened in 1999; near Jebel Ali, a 40,000 barrels per day second-hand gasoline unit run by ISO Octane, opened May, 2000; and in Sharjah, another second-hand unit with 71,250 barrels per day capacity opened in 2001 and run by the Sharjah Oil Refining Company (SORC). The UAE's crude oil refining capacity as of January 2001 was 514,750 barrels per day.
Near Umm An-Nar, a large plant belonging to National Chlorine Industries produces salt, chlorine, caustic soda, and hydrochloric acid. In Dubai the industrial port complex at Jebel 'Ali is the largest manmade port in the world and includes the largest dry dock in the world With capacity of one million tons. The Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) is the UAE's most developed free trade zone, including close to 200 factories, prominent among them being a major power plant with water desalination units, a steel fabrication plant, and an aluminum smelter, built in 1979, producing 290,030 tons of aluminum products per year. Plans have been announced to expand the Dubai Aluminum Company's capacity to 372,600 tons per year. Dubai's older industrial zone of Rashidiya is the site of some 40% of the emirate's processing industries. The other emirates have developed industries that produce construction-related materials such as cement, asphalt, and concrete blocks.
According to the statistics of UAE's Ministry of Finance and Industry (MOFI), there were 2,153 registered industrial establishments in 2000 (up from 1,261 in 1995) employing 176,260 people. Forty percent of the units—854—were in Dubai, which also accounted for 46.7% of industrial investment ($3.6 billion of $7.76 billion). Abu Dhabi accounted for 25% of investment ($2 billion) but only 10% of industrial units (235). Sharjah and Ras Al-Kaimah had industrial investment of $790 million and $763 million, respectively, each about 10% of the total. Outside of the oil sector, chemicals commanded the largest portion of investment (14.5%), with food and beverages second (11.2%). Metal production accounted for 3.6% of industrial investment and garments 0.8%.