UAE urges innovation in power sector

The UAE, Opec’s fourth-largest crude producer, is investing in nuclear power, renewable energy and liquefied natural gas terminals to secure supplies.

Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy, said the country is actively diversifying its energy mix. Wam
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The UAE’s Economy Minister said the country would continue to provide energy to the world, but he stressed the need for innovation in the energy sector in order to secure supplies.

To that end, Opec's fourth largest crude producer had been investing in nuclear power, renewable energy and liquefied natural gas terminals to reduce its reliance on oil, Suhail Al Mazrouei said yesterday at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea.

His call comes amid the global challenges of rising energy demands and increasing pressure on natural resources.

“We are committed to being a reliable supplier of hydrocarbons to the world,” said Mr Al Mazrouei. “But we recognise that change is part of the industry. Supply costs of certain energy forms are reaching unprecedented lows, while others are reaching peaks.

“Moreover, not only does the world demand more hydrocarbon supply, it also needs rapid decarbonisation.”

Abu Dhabi, holder of most of the UAE’s crude reserves, plans to raise output capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day in 2017 to meet export demand and feed an expanded local refinery.

The emirate supplies parts of the country with gas imported from Qatar and from its own fields and provides electric power to other emirates.

“Traditional sources of energy on their own are not enough,” Mr Al Mazrouei said. “The UAE is actively diversifying its energy mix.

“Today we are pioneering carbon capture and storage technologies that will allow deeper cuts in the future, with the first commercial-scale project set to reinject 800,000 tonnes of carbon annually.”

The country plans to generate 25 per cent of its power from nuclear plants by 2020 and to have 2,400 megawatts of generation capacity from renewable sources, according to the minister.

Four nuclear plants would produce 5,400 megawatts of power when completed by 2020, the Energy Ministry Undersecretary Matar Hamed Al Neyadi said yesterday.

Renewable energy would account for about 7 per cent of the nation’s generation, he said, indicating the UAE would have a capacity of more than 35,000 megawatts by 2030.

Abu Dhabi last year started a crude pipeline to Fujairah, a port outside the Strait of Hormuz, a choke point for oil shipments from the Arabian Gulf.

Two Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicles plan to build an LNG import terminal in the emirate to bring in more of the fuel for power generation.

The UAE would proceed with plans to raise its total daily output capability even amid increased supply from United States shale resources and from Middle East producers, Mr Al Mazrouei said.

Rising global demand meant extra production would be utilised, he said.

Domestic power demand alone was growing at about 6 per cent a year, Mr Al Neyadi said.

The UAE pumped 2.9 million barrels a day of crude last month, according to a Bloomberg survey of producers and analysts.

* Bloomberg News and Wam