UAE and Israel discuss investment opportunities in energy sector

The two countries are looking to strengthen their co-operation in oil and gas as well as in renewable energy and infrastructure development

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 8, 2020.  
UAE Energy Forum 2020-AUH.
   H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy & Industry, United Arab Emirates 
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:   Jennifer Gnana

The UAE and Israel agreed to discuss potential investment opportunities in the energy sector and boost co-operation between the two countries, state news agency Wam said.

The development came during a video call between UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei and Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday.

The two countries also discussed ways of strengthening their co-operation in the oil and gas sector, adoption of green energy and advanced technologies in the areas of energy.

Mr Al Mazrouei presented the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which is the country’s first unified energy plan that “aims to maintain a balance between production and consumption and meet global environmental commitments, to create a favourable economic environment for overall growth”, the statement said.

Last month, the UAE become the first Gulf country to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel after it formally signed the Abraham Accord in Washington.

Experts say there is a great potential for co-operation between the two countries within the energy sector, particularly renewables, following the accord.

As a net importer of energy, Israel has gradually built up its renewables capacity. As of last year, the country had more than 1.4 gigawatts of solar power capacity, just behind the UAE and Egypt. Israel intends to increase its solar power capacity to 15 gigawatts by 2030 at a cost of $22 billion (Dh80.8bn).

In addition to energy, both countries have signed a series of agreements in sectors such as banking and logistics.

Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Emirates NBD said they have signed preliminary agreements with Israeli lenders to explore areas for future co-operation. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s biggest bank by assets, is also in discussions with banks in Israel.

Global ports operator DP World said it signed an agreement with Israel's second-largest lender Bank Leumi to explore opportunities within Israel's logistics sector.

The UAE's Minister of Economy Abdulla Al Marri last week said "everyone will benefit" as a result of the accord signing between the UAE and Israel.

The UAE estimates that between $300m to $500m of business deals could transpire as a result of the normalisation of relations between the two countries, with Mr Al Marri stating that an exact figure would be announced soon.