The UAE’s Balanced Energy Policy

  • 10 November 2015

The United Arab Emirates gives special attention to sustainable development issues. Its energy policy seeks to create balance between economic growth considerations, conservation of natural resources and environment protection. It is keen to develop productive capacities of the traditional energy sector in oil and natural gas to meet the growing domestic demand. At the same time it is investing in new and renewable energy projects to achieve two goals – diversification and sustainability of energy sources and improvement of the country’s environment footprint and reducing the various causes of environmental pollution.

A number of important events during the last few days point to the UAE’s balanced energy policy. Abu Dhabi is hosting one of the most important international events in the energy sector calendar, the 18th Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC 2015), which got underway on Monday. The exhibition attracts the world’s largest companies operating in oil and gas sectors, with more than 85,000 participants. A large number of officials, experts and academics in the energy sector attend the conference, which this year includes over 600 speakers, organizers said, making the event one of the major platforms for global energy policy.

A report – Strategic Oil and Gas: Abu Dhabi 2015 – released on Sunday by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company reveals that Abu Dhabi is planning to invest between $40-50 billion during 2015-2020 on oil and gas exploration projects. This will increase the number of exploration and drilling platforms to 88 compared with 37 at present and improve oil and gas production fields by investing in advanced technology. This plan will help the UAE increase its oil production capacity to around 3.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2017 and develop its natural gas sector’s productivity.

The Processing of Sour Natural Gas project, which started earlier this year, produces more than 500 million cubic feet of gas per day and helps strengthen gas supply to meet the growing domestic needs, particularly in the electricity generation sector. The UAE doesn’t hesitate in investing in new and renewable energy and its ambitious program dealing with peaceful uses of nuclear energy is part of this framework. The program has been set up with strict regarding transparency, safety and security, which makes it a model for the development of peaceful nuclear energy around the world. This also resonates with the efforts being made by the UAE in the renewable energy sector.

The UAE has outperformed developed countries through exceptional projects such as Masdar City, which runs entirely on renewable energy and is completely free from contaminated waste that may harm the environment. As a result of its successful efforts, the country now hosts permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency. These outcomes have given the UAE a prominent position on the global energy map. It is the result of its balanced energy policy whether related to the energy production or raising efficiency and sustainability, a position that will certainly be further consolidated in the future.