U.A.E. Looks to Gas, Nuclear Power to Diversify, Minister Says

The United Arab Emirates, OPEC’s fourth-largest crude producer, is investing in nuclear power, renewable energy and liquefied natural gas terminals to reduce its reliance on oil, according to its energy minister.

“We are making our energy-supply portfolio more robust,” Suhail Mohammed Al-Mazrouei said in Daegu, South Korea, today. “We are committed to being a reliable supplier of hydrocarbons to the world,” he said, adding that the nation is operating a cross-country crude pipeline to facilitate exports.

Abu Dhabi, holder of most of the U.A.E.’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. Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the second-biggest emirate, are also investing in renewable energy.

“Traditional sources of energy on their own are not enough,” Al-Mazrouei said at the World Energy Congress. “The U.A.E. is actively diversifying its energy mix.”

The U.A.E. plans to generate 25 percent of its power from nuclear plants by 2020 and to have 2,500 megawatts of generation capacity from renewable sources, according to the minister. Four nuclear plants will produce 5,400 megawatts of power when completed by 2020, Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, an energy ministry undersecretary, said at the conference today. Renewable energy will account for about 7 percent of the nation’s generation, he said, indicating the U.A.E. will have a capacity of more than 35,000 megawatts by 2030.

Choke Point

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 Persian 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 U.A.E., which has boosted its oil-production capacity to about 3 million barrels a day, will proceed with plans to raise its total daily output capability to 3.5 million barrels even amid increased supply from U.S. shale resources and from Middle East producers including Iraq, Al-Mazrouei said yesterday. Rising global demand means extra production will be utilized, he said.

Domestic power demand alone is growing at about 6 percent a year, Al Neyadi said today.

The U.A.E. pumped 2.9 million barrels a day of crude last month, according to a Bloomberg survey of producers and analysts. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait ranking as the top three producers in September.

OPEC’s 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Venezuela.

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