In reference to the article Gas could burst Peak Oil theorists' bubble (January 21), the statistics associated with oil and natural gas reserves speak volumes. In round numbers we have so far produced and used about a trillion barrels of oil equivalent. A further one trillion barrels of oil equivalent have been discovered and will be produced. Consensus estimates suggest that there are about a trillion barrels of oil equivalent yet to be discovered. So we are only one third of the way through the story - though recovery from the remaining two thirds of the reserves will be significantly greater than the first third, as will the efficiency of its use. It is also worth noting that no giant field has ever been shut down or abandoned. New technology continues to extend their production life and this trend can be expected to continue. Peak oil remains a long way over the horizon. Good news for oil producers and consumers alike. Trevor Witton, UK
The article Dubai expands property law horizon (January 25) is very promising indeed. Laws and regulations governing real estate in Dubai are still in their infancy and 2009 has proved a pivotal year in lesson learning. The proposed legislation is very welcome indeed and will undoubtedly boost investor confidence. The wider implications and potential consequences must however be duly considered. At the forefront, should developers be required to complete 20 per cent of construction or deposit 25 per cent of project cost into an escrow account prior to engaging in project sales, a number of already hurt developers will be cut out of the contest in 2010. The remaining contenders will have to thin down their portfolio of developments and phase out investment opportunities across the long term, at all times taking into account greater implementation costs. This, in turn, will lead to the nurturing of a slower and perhaps more mature market dynamic, and potentially comprise Dubai's Strategic Plan of 2015.
Finally, is Dubai tooled up to enforce the new proposed laws and regulations in an effective way? What action can be taken, for instance, if not all developers have sufficient funds in place to refund, or spare capacity to swap investors from one failed property project to another? And how will such an absolute guarantee affect the prospects of medium-sized and up-and-coming developers in the region?
There are two sides to every coin and a careful balancing act must be achieved. While it is very welcome for investors to be granted more rights of return, the Dubai Land Department must be cautious not to stifle new development. The real issue is one of liquidity: the new proposals will in principle increase investment at the bottom level but it will not solve the liquidity freeze at the higher level. Unless liquidity is fed back into the system from the banking and financing sectors, developers will simply not be able to build. Leonora G Riesenburg, Dubai
Sultan Al Qassemi's opinion article To safeguard our future, learn from mistakes of the past (January 23) described how the Pecora Commission investigated the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and led to reforms in the US banking system like the 1933 Glass Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. A similar investigative body for Dubai's financial woes is a good idea.
It is therefore important to have an impartial UAE Financial Commission, perhaps morphing into a permanent watchdog. This Commission shouldn't just focus on penalising individuals, but on the systemic causes of failure and recommend solutions like the Glass Steagall Act. Canada, the largest US trade partner, wasn't affected by the financial crisis precisely because of such regulations and a small number of very large banks. Athar Mian, Abu Dhabi
I refer Police go undercover to tackle tailgating (January 24). I wish I felt reassured by this news. I might, were it not for the fact that during the two and a half years I have spent in the Emirates, I have never seen a police car observe the speed limit, practise lane discipline or use indicators. I would love to believe that this new campaign will improve road safety but fear that in practice it will consist of little more than bad drivers stopping marginally worse ones. SM, Al Ain
Tailgating is a rite of passage for drivers in the UAE. I'm relieved it will now be punished. When I'm tailgated, I have one of two options: to ignore the tailgaters and risk having my eyes blinded by their bright lights or to yield. Either way I risk damage since I drive a tiny car. I've developed a sense of calmness over the years and tailgaters now only annoy themselves when luck puts them behind me. Still, it is a relief that the offence will now be punished because, more than anything, it is disrespectful. Safi Roshdy, Dubai