Country energy analysis: United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is important to world energy markets because it contains 98 bn barrels, or nearly 10
%, of the world's proven oil reserves. The UAE also holds the world's fifth-largest natural gas reserves and exports
significant amounts of LNG.
Information contained in this report is the best available as of December 2002 and can change.
The overall performance of the UAE's economy is heavily dependent on oil exports, which account for about 30 % of
total gross domestic product (GDP). Growth in real GDP had slowed to 1.8 % in 2001, largely as a result of cuts in
oil export revenues, but it is projected to recover to 2.5 % for 2002 and 3.3 % for 2003. Growth in the non-oil
sectors of the economy is expected to outpace growth in the oil sector over the next several years, as a result of
increasing capital investment and the government's expansionary monetary policy.
Government Structure The UAE is a federation of seven emirates -- Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah,Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. Political power is concentrated in Abu Dhabi, which controls the vast majority of the UAE's economic and resource wealth. The two largest emirates -- Abu Dhabi and Dubai -- provide over 80 % of the UAE's income. In June 1996, the UAE’s Federal National Council approved a permanent constitution for the country. This replaced a provisional document which had been renewed every five years since the country’s creation in 1971.
The establishment of Abu Dhabi as the UAE’s permanent capital was one of the new framework’s main
provisions. Other Industry In recent years, the UAE has undertaken several projects to diversify its economy and to
reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas revenues.
The non-oil sectors of the UAE's economy presently contribute more than two-thirds of the UAE's total GDP, and about 30 % of its total exports. The federal government has invested heavily in sectors such as aluminium production, tourism, aviation, re-export commerce, and telecommunications.
As part of its strategy to further expand its tourism industry, the UAE is building new hotels, restaurants and shopping centres, and expanding airports and duty-free zones. Dubai has become a central Middle East hub for trade and finance, accounting for about 70 % of the Emirates’ non-oil trade. The UAE has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995, and has one of the most open economies in the region.
The UAE and Iran continue to dispute the ownership of three islands, Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands, which are strategically located in the Strait of Hormuz. All three islands were effectively occupied by Iranian troops in 1992. The Mubarak field, which is located six miles off Abu Musa, has been producing oil and associated natural gas since 1974. In 1995, the Iranian Foreign Ministry claimed that the islands are "an inseparable part of Iran."
Iran rejected a 1996 proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the dispute to be resolved by the International Court of Justice, an option supported by the UAE. In early 1996, Iran took further moves to strengthen its hold on the disputed islands. These actions included starting up a power plant on Greater Tunb, opening an airport on Abu Musa, and announcing plans for construction of a new port on Abu Musa. In the dispute, the UAE has received strong support from the GCC, the United Nations, and the United States.
Although Iran remains a continuing concern for officials in Abu Dhabi, they have chosen not to escalate the territorial dispute. The two governments have recently held high-level discussions about the territorial dispute. Iran is one of Dubai’s major trading partners, accounting for 20 % to 30 % of Dubai’s business.
The UAE contains proven crude oil reserves of 97.8 bn barrels, or slightly less than 10 % of the world total. Abu Dhabi holds 94 % of this amount, or about 92.2 bn barrels. Dubai contains an estimated 4.0 bn barrels, followed by Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, with 1.5 bn and 100 mm barrels of oil, respectively.
The majority of the UAE’s crude oil is considered light, with gravities in the 32 degrees to 44 degrees API range. Abu Dhabi's Murban 39 degrees and Dubai's Fateh 32 degrees blends are the UAE's primary export crude streams, though Dubai's production is been falling in recent years due to the decline of its modest reserves.
Most of the UAE’s oil fields have been producing since the 1960s or early 1970s. Proven oil reserves in Abu Dhabi have doubled in the last decade, mainly due to significant increases in rates of recovery. Abu Dhabi has continued to identify new finds, especially offshore, and to discover new oil-rich structures in existing fields.
Under the UAE's constitution, each emirate controls its own oil production and resource development. Although Abu
Dhabi joined OPEC in 1967 (four years before the UAE was formed), Dubai does not consider itself part of OPEC or
bound by its quotas.
The UAE's current OPEC production quota (effective January 1, 2002) is 1.89 mm bpd, and its crude oil production in the fourth quarter of 2002 is 2.01 mm bpd. OPEC has left production quotas unchanged in 2002, after several rounds of cuts due to falling prices in 2001, but overall output by OPEC members, including the UAE, has been rising. The UAE's total production capacity is 2.60 mm bpd, making it second only to Saudi Arabia for excess production capacity among OPEC member states.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is currently planning a limited opening of UAE upstream oil production to
foreign firms. The initial asset sale will involve 28 % of the offshore Upper Zakhum field. Bids have been solicited
from BP, TotalFinaElf, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and the Japan Oil Development Company (JODCO), and an award
decision is expected in the near future. JODCO already holds a 12 % stake in the field from a previous investment in
1972, when the field was first developed.
Several projects to upgrade infrastructure at existing oilfields are planned or underway. A $ 300 mm project to increase the capacity of the onshore Bu Hasa field is planned, including construction of natural gas separation units and drilling of natural gas reinjection wells. The goal is to increase production capacity to 480,000 bpd from the present 100,000 bpd. A natural gas reinjection project also is planned for the onshore Bab field. These projects are part of an overall goal of raising the UAE's production capacity to 3 mm bpd within the next four years.
The UAE has two refineries operated by ADNOC. The Ruwais refinery has a capacity of 145,000 bpd. It produces light products mainly for export to Japan and India. Fuel oil from Ruwais is sold as bunkers by ADNOC and also used for domestic electric power generation. A $ 480-mm contract was awarded to the Italian engineering firm Technip in June 2002 for an expansion of the Ruwais complex to a capacity of 500,000 bpd, including refits of existing units and expansion of units for production of unleaded gasoline and low-sulphur fuel oil.
Work under this contract is to be completed by 2005. UAE has five smaller refineries. Umm al-Nar, in Abu Dhabi, has a capacity of 88,500 bpd. Since its construction in 1976, the Umm al-Nar plant has undergone debottlenecking as well as a recent expansion. The refinery primarily supplies the domestic market. Metro Oil has a 90,000-bpd refinery in Fujairah.
The Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) Jebal Ali condensate refinery, with a capacity of 120,000 bpd, began
operations in Dubai in May 1999. A 40,000 bpd second-hand gasoline unit, owned by the private firm ISO Octane, opened
near Jebal Ali in May 2000. Another 71,250 bpd second-hand unit was set up by the Sharjah Oil Refining Company in
Foreign Downstream Operations In October 1998, the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), the UAE’s downstream investment outfit, purchased 50 % of the Hyundai Oil Refinery Company of South Korea for $ 500 mm. The UAE is the second-largest crude oil supplier to South Korea after Saudi Arabia. IPIC’s overseas holdings also include a 10 % stake in Spain’s CEPSA and a 19.6 % share of Austria’s OMV.
The UAE’s natural gas reserves of 212 tcf are the world's fifth largest after Russia, Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The largest reserves of 196.1 tcf are located in Abu Dhabi. Sharjah, Dubai, and Ras al-Khaimah contain smaller reserves of 10.7 tcf, 4.1 tcf, and 1.1 tcf, respectively. In Abu Dhabi, the non-associated Khuff natural gas reservoirs beneath the Umm Shaif and Abu al-Bukhush oil fields rank among the world's largest. Current natural gas reserves are projected to last for about 150-170 years.
Increased domestic consumption of electricity and growing demand from the petrochemical industry have provided incentives for the UAE to increase its use of natural gas. Over the last decade, natural gas consumption in Abu Dhabi has doubled, and is projected to reach 4 bn cfpd by 2005.
The development of natural gas fields also results in increased production and exports of condensates, which are not subject to OPEC quotas. Projects The past few years have seen the UAE embark on a massive, multi-billion dollar program of investment in its natural gas sector including a shift toward natural gas-fired power plants and the transformation of the Taweelah commercial district into a natural gas-based industrial zone.
An ambitious plan, the Dolphin Project, to interconnect the natural gas grids of Qatar, the UAE, and Oman, also is
planned. Most of the UAE's increased natural gas needs in the next decade are to be satisfied with imported natural
gas from Qatar. Much of the natural gas development in the UAE itself involves the extraction of natural gas liquids
(NGLs) and reinjection of the gas to maintain pressure in oilfields.
The second phase of the UAE's $ 1-bn onshore natural gas development program (OGD-2) at the Habshan complex located directly over the Bab oil and natural gas field was completed in early 2001. This second phase included the construction of four trains to process 1 bn cfpd of natural gas, 300-500 tons per day (tpd) of natural gas liquids (NGLs), 35,000-55,000 tpd of condensate and up to 2,100 tpd of sulphur.
Additional capacity expansion is planned in the third phase, OGD-3, and will involve the construction of two additional natural gas processing trains. Bechtel was awarded the initial engineering and design work for OGD-3 in May 2002, which they are to complete in 2003.
Another project closely linked with OGD-2 is the Asab natural gas development project, which was completed in 1999.
The Asab development processes around 830 mm cfpd of associated wet natural gas from the Thamama F and G reservoirs
and produces up to 100,000 bpd of condensate for processing at the Ruwais refinery.
The natural gas also will support other industries in Ruwais and be re-injected into Asab reservoirs to maintain field pressure. A second phase AGD-2, is planned, which will add more NGL processingcapacity, but will not increase natural gas production capacity.
Dubai’s natural gas consumption has been growing by nearly 7 % annually due to expansion of the emirate's industrial sector, a switch to natural gas by its power stations, and the need for an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) system based on natural gas injections for its mature oilfields.
Dubai projects future demand will average 810 mm cfpd in 2005, with major swings between summer and winter consumption patterns. Until mid-2001, Dubai’s entire natural gas supply came entirely from fellow UAE member Sharjah. BP operates three fields and the 800-mm cfpd Sajaa processing facility in conjunction with the Sharjah government.
In May 2001, a pipeline from the Maqta area of Abu Dhabi to Dubai commenced operations, delivering 200 mm cfpd of natural gas. Pipeline throughput is expected to reach 900 mm cfpd in 2003 once additional compressor stations are completed..
The Dolphin Project
The Dolphin Project aims to develop links between the natural gas infrastructures of Qatar, the UAE, and Oman, with a possible future link to the Indian Subcontinent. It will allow the export of non-associated natural gas from Qatar's massive offshore North Dome field. A Statement of Principles for the project was signed in March 1999 between the UAE Offsets Group (UOG) and the Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC). The two firms signed a natural gas sales agreement in March 2001, with natural gas supplies to start in late 2005.
Estimated to cost $ 8-10 bn over the next decade, the project will begin as a subsea pipeline from Ras Laffan in Qatar to a landfall in Abu Dhabi, which will then be extended to Dubai and northern Oman. It will start at 48 inches in diameter, narrowing to 30 inches by the time it reaches Oman. In its initial phase, the pipeline is to carry 3 bn cfpd of Qatari natural gas to the UAE and Oman, accounting for nearly 10 % of total world natural gas supplies shipped by pipeline.
In October 1999, UOG and ADNOC issued a joint declaration dividing up natural gas distribution between them. Natural
gas from the Dolphin Project will be the exclusive supply for natural gas-fired power plants, except in the Western
Region of Abu Dhabi, and will also supply natural gas for ADNOC contracts with Dubai. Natural gas from the Dolphin
Project will use the ADNOC distribution network until the project develops its own network.
In March 2000, UOG signed a contract with two foreign firms, TotalFinaElf and Enron, after securing purchase agreements with Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Oman. Originally, the two main foreign firms participating in the project were Enron and TotalFinaElf. In May 2001, however, Enron announced that it was backing out of the project, and selling its 24.5 % stake back to UOG.
UOG sold this share to Occidental Petroleum in June 2002 after receiving bids from several foreign companies. Upstream development in Qatar and construction of the subsea pipeline are expected to commence in 2003, with natural gas deliveries to the UAE beginning in 2005. The proposed extension from Oman to Pakistan might be built later. This phase of the project is dependent on Pakistan's ability to pay for the natural gas, which is questionable given the current weakness of its economy.
The UAE’s soaring demand for electric power, coupled with volatile swings in peak loads, led the Emirates in 1997 to form a Privatisation Committee for the Water and Electricity Sector. In early 1998, the committee called for a comprehensive restructuring, including the elimination of the state-owned Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Department (ADWED).
ADWED was transformed into a regulatory body, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). The government plans to take a majority holding in the new ventures with minority interests held by foreign firms. The government may gradually privatise its shares through initial public offerings (IPOs), allowing UAE nationals to become shareholders, though this is still uncertain.
TotalFinaElf and Tractebel were awarded a contract by ADWEA in August 2000 for an upgrade to the Taweelah A-1 plant, which gives a 20 % ownership stake to each of the foreign partners, with the rest remaining with ADWEA. The upgrade will bring the capacity of the plant to 1,350 MW. The consortium, Gulf Total Tractebel Power Company (GGTPC), currently is preparing to receive bids for the construction of the upgrades.
Another step in the reorganization is the expansion of the Taweelah cogeneration facility. The expansion, known as
Taweelah A-2, is the UAE’s first independent water and power project (IWPP), and reached financial close in
April 1999. It is the second independent power project in the Gulf after Oman’s al-Manah facility.
With a price tag of some $ 800 mm, the expansion is to add about 763 MW of power and 50 mm gallons of desalinated water to the UAE’s supplies. The first 370-MW came online in July 2000. The rest of the generating units became operational in August 2001. The Taweelah A-2 project is run by Emirates CMS Power, a joint venture between CMS Energy (40 % ownership interest) and the newly-formed Emirates Power Company (EPC) (60 %).
The al-Taweelah Power Company manages the Taweelah B facility. The plant, which currently has six 122-MW steam turbines and six 13 mm gallon-per-day (gpd) multi-stage flash units, is now undergoing a $ 360 mm expansion. The addition of two new natural gas-turbine units will bring the plant’s capacity to 1,220 MW and 103 mm gallons per day (gpd) of water.
The Umm al-Nar Power Company operates the plant by the same name with a 1,215-MW, 97-mm-gpd facility, which will be
upgraded with two new 3.5 mm gpd desalination units. The new units run on steam already available at the site. The
company also will operate the 120-MW Baniyas station. ADWEA received bids in November 2002 for the partial
privatisation of the company, which will be structured similarly to the two Taweelah IWPPs.
The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) signed a contract for the Shuweihat IWPP project in August 2001 with a consortium of CMS Energy and International Power PLC. The $ 1.6 bn deal provides for the construction and operation of a 1,500-MW combined cycle plant with a desalination capacity of 100 mm gallons per day. Construction began in early 2002, with commercial operation expected by mid-2004.
The UAE also is taking part in a $ 1-bn plan to build a regional power grid throughout the countries of the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC). The first phase of the plan would link Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar; the UAE
and Oman would join the grid in the second phase of the plan. GCC electricity ministers signed a final agreement on
the project in June 1999.
The plan is based on the assumption that each country will have its own unified power grid, and the UAE is doing its part by connecting all the power stations along its western coast with the central region. The process of building interconnections between all seven Emirates' transmission grids is expected to be completed by early 2003.
Sources for this report include: CIA World Factbook 2002; Dow Jones News Wire service; Economist Intelligence Unit Views Wire; Global Insight Middle East Economic Outlook; Gulf News; Oil and Gas Journal; Petroleum Economist; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; International Market Insight Reports; US Energy Information Administration; World Gas Intelligence.
President: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan
Prime Minister: Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum
Independence: December 2, 1971 (from United Kingdom)
Population (2002E): 2.4 mm
Location/size: Persian Gulf between Oman and Saudi Arabia/30,000 square miles
Major cities: Abu Dhabi (capital), Dubai, Sharjah, al-Ain
Languages: Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Ethnic groups: Arab (UAE citizens) (19 %), other Arab and Iranian (23 %), South Asian (50 %), other expatriate (Western and East Asian) 8 %.
Religion: Muslim 96 % (Shi’a 16 %), Christian, Hindu, other 4 %
Defence (1998): Total manpower 64,500 (Army 59,000; Air Force 4,000; Navy 1,500)
Currency: Dirham (AED)
Market exchange rate (12/9/02): $ 1 = 3.67 dirhams
Gross Domestic Product (2002E): $ 63.1 bn
Real GDP growth rate (2002E): 2.5 %
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(2002E): 2.1
% Major trading partners: Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Iran, India
Current account balance (2002E): $ 7.4
bn Merchandise exports (2002E): $ 43.8 bn
Merchandise imports (2002E): $ 34.9 bn
Merchandise trade balance (2002E): $ 8.9 bn
Major export products: Crude oil, natural gas, re-exports, aluminium, dried fish, dates
Major import products: Manufactured goods, machinery, and transportation equipment, food
International reserves (2002E): $ 11.7 bn
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources: Obeid bin Saif al-Nasiri Proven oil reserves (1/1/02E): 97.8 bn barrels
Oil production (3rd quarter of 2002E): 2.27 mm bpd, of which 1.99 mm bpd is crude oil
OPEC crude oil production quota (effective 1/1/02): 1.89 mm bpd
Crude oil production capacity (4th quarter of 2002): 2.60 mm bpd
Oil consumption (2002E): 353,000 bpd
Net oil exports (3rd quarter of 2002E): 1.92 mm bpd
Major crude oil customers (2002E): Japan (about 60 %), other Far East (about 20 %)
Crude oil refining capacity (1/1/02E): 514,750 bpd
Natural gas reserves (1/1/02E): 212 tcf
Natural gas production (2000E): 1.41 tcf
Natural gas consumption (2000E): 0.97 tcf
Net natural gas exports (2000E): 0.44 tcf
Electric generation capacity (1/1/00E): 5.6 GW
Electricity production (2000E): 38.7 bn kWh
Minister of Electricity & Water: Humayd bin Nasir al-Uways
Total energy consumption (2000E): 1.7 quadrillion Btu* (0.4 % of world total energy consumption)
Energy-related carbon emissions (2000E): 30.2 mm tons of carbon (0.5 % of world total carbon emissions)
Per capita energy consumption (2000E): 560.1 mm Btu (vs. US value of 351.0 mm Btu)
Per capita carbon emissions (2000E): 9.7 tons of carbon (vs. US value of 5.6 tons of carbon)
Energy intensity (2000E): 36,463 Btu/$ 1995 (vs. US value of 10,918 Btu/$ 1995)**
Carbon intensity (2000E): 0.6 tons of carbon/thousand $ 1995 (vs. US value of 0.17 tons/thousand $ 1995)**
Sectoral share of energy consumption (1998E): Transportation (10.3 %), industrial (58.4 %), residential (16.2 %), commercial (15.1 %)
Sectoral share of carbon emissions (1998E): Industrial (56.7 %), transportation (13.2 %), residential (15.6 %), commercial (14.5 %)
Fuel share of energy consumption (2000E): Oil (41.5 %), natural gas (58.5 %), coal (0.0 %)
Fuel share of carbon emissions (2000E): Natural gas (50.6 %), oil (49.4 %), coal (0.0 %)
Renewable energy consumption (1998E): 0.71 t Btu* (0 % increase from 1997)
Number of people per motor vehicle (1998): 71.4 (vs. US value of 1.3)
Status in climate change negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (ratified December 29th, 1995). Not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
Major environmental issues: Lack of natural freshwater resources being overcome by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills.
Major international environmental agreements: A party to Conventions on Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping and Ozone Layer Protection. Has signed, but not ratified, Biodiversity and Law of the Sea.
* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal,
solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International
Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products,
biomass natural gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon
emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on EIA International Energy Annual 2000
Oil and natural gas industries
Organizations: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); Operates three main oil and natural gas operating companies, five Service companies, three joint ventures to fully utilize the produced natural gas, two maritime transport companies for crude oil, refined product and LNG and one refined product distribution company.
Major refineries: Ruwais (145,000 bpd), Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC)-Dubai (120,000), Umm al-Nar (88,500 bpd), Metro Oil (Fujairah)(90,000 bpd), Sharjah Oil Refining Company (71,250)
Major natural gas processing plants: Bab, Bu Hasa, Das Island, Habshan (2), Jebel Ali, Ruwais
Major oil fields: Abu Dhabi: ‘Asab, Bab, Bu Hasa, Al-Zakum Dubai: Fallah, Fateh, Southwest Fateh, Margham, Rashid Sharjah: Mubarak (near Abu Musa Island)
Major associated natural gas fields: Abu Dhabi: Abu al-Bukhush, Bab, Bu Hasa, Umm Shaif, Zakum
Ports: Abu Dhabi: Das Island, Delma Island, Jebel as Dhanna, Ruwais, Abu al Bukhush, Al Mubarraz, Zirku Island, Port Zayed, Umm al Nar; Dubai: Jebel Ali, Fateh, Port Rashid; Sharjah: Mubarak