Natural gas is set to play a pivotal role in powering economic growth in the UAE over the next 50 years…reports Asian Lite News

Natural gas is set to play a pivotal role in powering economic growth in the UAE over the next 50 years, according to Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Managing Director and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Delivering the opening address of Gastech 2021, Dr. Al Jaber highlighted the UAE’s leadership in natural gas and said “natural gas will support the nation’s vision for economic growth as set out by the Leadership in the ‘Principles of the Fifty’.”

UAE flag

“The Principles of the Fifty is a mandate for progress driven by 10 guiding principles aimed at making the UAE the most dynamic economy in the world. Gas will play a pivotal role in this blueprint for growth, as the essential fuel stock for our downstream hub in Ruwais and our industrial joint venture, TA’ZIZ,” Dr. Al Jaber said.

Speaking virtually, he explained that the UAE is strengthening its position as a regional leader in natural gas and the emerging blue Hydrogen market. He attributed this leadership position to the foresight of the Founding Founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who recognised the enormous potential natural gas offered and the need to balance economic growth with environmental protection.

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“Our Founding Father Sheikh Zayed’s commitment to the environment and truly sustainable development was the key driver. In 1973, at his direction, ADNOC stopped burning the associated gas from all its operations, and instead captured it and shipped it.

“In short,” Dr. Al Jaber added, “we turned an environmental liability into a commercial opportunity. From that moment, when it came to gas, we never looked back. For almost fifty years the UAE has viewed gas in all its forms as one big opportunity, and we’ve built our gas business on a number of firsts.”

He pointed out that the country was the first in the region to stop flaring and find economic uses for gas, the first to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, the first to produce ultra-sour gas at an industrial scale, and the first to store carbon dioxide and use it in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) to liberate more gas.

The UAE is on track to achieve gas self-sufficiency as ADNOC leverages advanced technologies to expand into unconventional gas, tap into gas caps and unlock new reservoirs, as part of the company’s integrated gas strategy launched in 2018.

“At the heart of this goal, is the expansion of our producing assets, like Shah and the development of new ones, like the unique Umm Shaif gas cap and the Hail, Ghasha and Dalma project,” Dr. Al Jaber stated, as he provided an update on ADNOC’s progress.

“Construction of artificial islands is underway and we are leveraging our experience in world-class developments to ensure costs are minimized and commercial benefits maximized for all our partners. Together, these projects will deliver over 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day, enough to power several million homes.”

‘Natural gas to play pivotal role in UAE’s economic growth’

He went on to share his perspectives on natural gas markets and the role natural gas will play in the energy transition.

“As the world consolidates its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, LNG and broader gas markets globally are tightening, with demand outpacing supply. Longer-term, the outlook is also robust, driven particularly by markets in Asia. Today, gas provides almost one-quarter of the world’s energy supply and will continue to play a critical role in the global energy system. No other fuel source can reliably supply the baseload power to heat and cool homes, drive heavy industry and expand economies, all while keeping emissions at a minimum.”

Dr. Al Jaber added that as innovations are helping to make gas even cleaner and more sustainable, the UAE is applying technology to create zero-carbon fuels from gas such as Hydrogen. “Already at ADNOC, we produce about 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year. By leveraging our existing gas infrastructure and commercial-scale CCUS capabilities, the UAE can and will become a major player in the emerging blue hydrogen market.”

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