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UAE hopes shale gas will complement energy output

Abu Dhabi: The UAE hopes shale gas will complement its energy production in the future, the country’s energy minister said in his keynote address at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research’s (ECSSR) 19th Annual Energy Conference in the capital. The minister’s speech in his absence was read out by Matar Hamad Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy.

The minister, Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, however, noted that for the development of the country’s shale resources, infrastructure is needed. “This would have a positive impact on the oil prices,” he added.

Al Mazroui said the global crude oil demand is estimated to rise to 104 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030, from the current 89 million bpd.

He also said the UAE is keen to use solar energy. “The UAE will start their nuclear reactor in 2017 and the site’s four 1,400 MW units are expected to eventually produce 5,600 MW of power,” said the energy minister.

Meanwhile, in Singapore yesterday, Al Mazroui told CNBC in an interview the UAE does not feel threatened by the US shale boom.

The United States has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer as the jump in output from shale has led to the second-biggest oil boom in history, leading U.S. energy consultancy PIRA said earlier this month.

“I’m not threatened by that dynamic,” Al Mazroui said during the Singapore International Energy Week.

“Definitely there are countries — as members of Opec [Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries] — that will be impacted because their conventional market is the US.”

At the ECSSR conference, Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, noted in his welcoming remarks at the conference titled: ‘Unconventional Fossil Fuels: The Next hydrocarbon Revolution’ seeks to explore the latest developments and technologies in the field of unconventional fossil fuels.

The first panel discussed the geopolitical consequences of unconventional fuels on the Arabian Gulf and the UAE. Mehmet Ogutcu, an internationally recognised authority on energy, infrastructure investment, finance and geopolitics, and Chairman of the Global Resources Corporation, called Iran the ‘elephant in the room,’ adding they are again emerging as a major oil producer and noted that Iraq is predicted to increase production from the current 2.5 million bpd to 6.7 million bpd by 2025.

Ogutcu spoke of China’s concern for the security of the Strait of Malacca, a narrow stretch of water, through which China receives 80 per cent of its imports but also contains a large US naval presence. This concern, he said, led China to develop land-based pipelines all the way to Iran.

Luis Giusti, a Senior Advisor at the Centre for Strategic and Industrial Studies, stated that for the Arabian Gulf, the fossil fuels will dominate the energy sector for many years to come. Giusti stated that ‘fracking’ is not a new technique; it has been practiced since 1937. “What is causing the problem now is the disposal of the chemicals used,” he added.