Developers keep capital's gas network plan alight

Property companies are pressing ahead with the development of gas networks in outlying parts of Abu Dhabi.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi - November 4th, 2009:  Yas Island from the roof of the Yas Island Rotana Hotel.  (Galen Clarke/The National) *** Local Caption ***  GC06_11042009_YasIsland.jpg

Property companies are pressing ahead with the development of gas networks in outlying parts of Abu Dhabi even though the Government has yet to give the green light to a comprehensive plan for the rest of the city. It is four years since the local gas distribution company Q Energy completed a critical preliminary stage of the project known as a "front-end engineering and design study".

Since then, as it has waited for a decision from the Government, one new Abu Dhabi community has acquired a gas supply. "Yas Island now has natural gas flowing," Jim Lloyd, the head of project management at Q Energy, told the City Gas MENA conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday. He was referring to the island north-west of Abu Dhabi that was recently developed with a marina and a cluster of luxury hotels and residential complexes around the Formula One track.

Gas distribution systems would also be built for Reem and Sadiyaat islands, which are under development as part of the expanding municipality of Abu Dhabi, Mr Lloyd said. "The developers of the islands have moved the gas plan forward because they want to use natural gas within their communities," he said on the sidelines of the conference. "The islands are the low-hanging fruit." Q Energy is a gas distribution partnership between the Abu Dhabi property developer and infrastructure company Al Qudra Holding and Lootah BC Gas, a gas utility joint venture between Dubai's Lootah Group and the Canadian pipeline company Terasen.

However, it was Aldar, not Al Qudra, that developed Yas Island. Three other Abu Dhabi property companies, Tamouh Investments, Sorouh and Al Reem Investments, will develop Reem Island. The Abu Dhabi Government-owned Tourism Development and Investment Company is the master developer for Sadiyaat Island. As well as developing the first island community in Abu Dhabi to use natural gas to supply energy for cooking and hot water, Aldar is also heading the first residential project on the Abu Dhabi mainland to include a gas distribution network.

The 28km Yas Island pipeline system would be extended to Aldar's Raha Beach development, said Gamal el Gebely, the group business development manager of the Abu Dhabi contractor Al Fanar Gas Services.