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18 April 2024

UAE needs to curtail domestic energy consumption habits: Energy Minister

By Wam

The United Arab Emirates, with the second largest Arab economy, will develop a diversified and efficient energy portfolio that will sustain future economic growth and extend the country’s position as a reliable supplier of crude oil to global markets, the country’s Energy Minister has said.

"The status quo of high income and low energy prices has created some inefficiencies, adding pressures on hydrocarbon resources and the environment," Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei said ahead of the 5th Gulf Intelligence UAE Energy Forum, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on January 13th under the theme, Global Energy Outlook 2020. "A general change in habits would help drive the region’s competitiveness and boost efficiencies in the longer term," the minister said.

Gulf States, including the UAE, are among the world’s largest energy exporters, shipping both crude and gas to customers around the globe. However, the countries are also emerging as major energy consumers in their own right, which could raise concerns amongst Asian customers that soaring domestic consumption in OPEC states may eat into export capacities, with Saudi Arabia now consuming a quarter of its oil output.

The demand for electricity in the UAE, which is almost exclusively generated from natural gas-fired power plants, is set to rise at a rate of about 9 percent per annum through to 2020. Rising gas demand from power stations and industrial users such as petrochemical makers and steel manufacturers has turned the UAE into a net gas importer in the past decade, triggering multi-billion dollar investments into nuclear power and renewables.

The UAE Energy Forum, now in its fifth year, will bring together the National and International energy industry operating in Abu Dhabi to discuss and debate critical topics impacting the sector through to 2020, including the Shale revolution, meeting Asian demand and the role women can play in solving the talent shortage in the energy industry.

"A rising and expanding middle class from Asia is looking to continue their progress towards increased prosperity and consumption, but this growth can only be sustained if Asia continues to have access to clean forms of energy," said Sri Lanka’s Minister of Petroleum Industries, Anura Yapa, who will address next week’s forum in a keynote speech on Energy Mix 2020 – Limited Energy, Unlimited Asia.

As the global centre of economic gravity shifts from west to east and north to south, the world is seeing the emergence of new energy corridors and new alliances aimed at meeting soaring energy demand over the next five years. Today, Asia is the principal consumer of Gulf hydrocarbons, with as much as 70 percent of Gulf production now being consumed in countries such as India, China, Japan and South Korea. This dependence is going to grow, and with it the need to deepen collaboration between energy consuming nations in Asia and hydrocarbon producers in the Gulf.

"Collaboration between producing nations and international oil companies (IOCs) will be another important element in ensuring that future energy requirements will be met," said Dr. Klaus Langemann, Vice President of Wintershall Middle East. "True and open partnerships between producing countries and IOCs represent an essential building block in order to secure a sustainable supply with energy in the future," he said.