Interview: Saeed Khoory

How can the UAE help meet the growing demand for oil and gas from Asia’s emerging markets?

SAEED KHOORY: We must approach this from a holistic and realistic perspective. Without doubt, there is a growing demand for petroleum products from the emerging economies of Asia. The Middle East, also driven by population growth and focused on infrastructure development, faces increased demand for energy. As a primary producer of oil and natural gas, and as home to the world’s seventh-largest reserves of these resources, the UAE will continue to play a major role in meet global demand for petroleum products.

Because of the OPEC production cap, the UAE’s output remains steady, and increasing production would require consensus of all concerned parties. Concerted efforts are being made to expand our export capability. Today, Fujairah is a global centre for petroleum products export and bunkering, and will soon become another point for exporting crude.

Strengthening refinery capacity is another step, and the UAE is taking measures to enhance our refining competencies. I believe that one area in which the UAE could play a stronger role is in promoting natural gas, but there is strong domestic demand already. With demand continuing to outstrip supply, what every economy must do – whether in Asia or elsewhere – is to focus on developing alternative energy sources and greater efficiency and demand management, which Dubai and the other emirates are already doing.

To what extent have efforts to raise awareness regarding fuel conservation been successful?

KHOORY: Increasing awareness of energy conservation and promoting sustainable development initiatives have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in promoting fuel efficiency. Industry stakeholders are committed to the UAE’s Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, which includes projects in six areas: energy, green investments, cities, climate change, green technology and biodiversity. This initiative will serve as a driver for fuel conservation and energy sustainability measures in the UAE.

What are the advantages of compressed natural gas (CNG)? How could its use be encouraged?

KHOORY: We believe promoting CNG will play an important role in driving energy sustainability and addressing environmental concerns. Emirates Gas (EMGAS), a subsidiary of ENOC, is already piloting CNG for Dubai municipality vehicles converted to run on this fuel. EMGAS has also been working closely with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to introduce CNG in public transport vehicles to reduce their environmental impact. A unique model of pipe-less natural gas fuel stations has been proposed as part of plans to implement cost-effective and environmentally friendly natural gas transportation stations. Government vehicles will be the first to switch to CNG, followed by private cars. Carbon emission from a CNG engine is 50% less than a gasoline engine. ENOC is looking at different options to secure a long-term supply of gas to provide the CNG option.

What are the expectations for growth in the UAE’s terminal and storage industry?

KHOORY: ENOC offers a number of opportunities for terminal operations in the region. One of the driving forces of the terminal industry in the UAE is the strategic location of the ports at Jebel Ali and Fujairah. The Horizon Terminals today handle the widest range of petroleum liquid and chemical products in the region, both for inland consumption and re-exports.

There is potential for growth in domestic fuel demand for gasoline, diesel and Jet A1 for aviation. Demand for services like bunkering, re-exports and strategic defence storage is also expected to rise due to growing aviation requirements in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. We have a plan to expand our business to support our supply, trading and marketing business as the region becomes a centre for trade.