Interview: Saif Humaid Al Falasi
What kind of impact is the acquisition of Dragon Oil by ENOC having on the sector’s dynamics?
SAIF HUMAID AL FALASI: The addition of an upstream arm into ENOC is important for the future of our company, but also for the emirate of Dubai as a whole. Through this acquisition, the emirate now possesses assets capable of producing over 100,000 barrels per day of oil, along with proven and probable reserves of 660m barrels in the Commonwealth of Independent States region. Dragon Oil adds production and exploration assets and operational expertise into ENOC’s portfolio, all of which position Dubai’s oil and gas industry for growth. We are now positioned to strengthen our nation’s energy security, as well as to partner, compete and grow with the leading international oil and gas companies and regional national oil companies.
Given the emirate’s high per-capita energy consumption, how is strategy being developed to ensure local capacity can be maintained?
AL FALASI: The protection of the environment is a precursor to sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. Resources are bound to be depleted by consumption, so efficiency in consumption is an absolute necessity for preserving resources and ensuring sustainable long-term growth for future generations.
Energy consumption is a priority for the UAE government, as evinced by its establishment of the Supreme Council of Energy and its role in initiatives such as the Carbon Abatement Strategy and the Dubai Green Economy Partnership. These are industry-wide partnerships that capitalise on best-in-class talents in various public and private entities.
De-regulating fuel prices is another conscious effort towards better resource management. This is a direction that Dubai as a whole is moving towards, as it’s a prerequisite of sustainable development. Withdrawing subsidies will incentivise the public use of alternative fuels through competitive prices.
Which types of downstream products and processes are under consideration to ensure the sector remains competitive?
AL FALASI: In order to stay competitive, an upgrade of ENOC’s refinery will allow the company to convert naphtha and give it capacity to produce 40,000 bpd of gasoline components. It will also add a reformer and a hydrotreater to the plant to produce sweet naphtha with a sulphur content of five parts per million and high paraffin content (low sulphur diesel).
In addition to this, we are building the infrastructure to cater for the huge growth in jet fuel consumption at Dubai International Airport and the Al Maktoum International Airport.
Following the Smart Government and Smart Cities initiatives, what is the next step in technological advancement for the energy retail segment?
AL FALASI: From a retail point of view, there’s an increased emphasis on deploying technology to enhance customer experience. The energy distribution sector is committed to facilitating the smart city vision by investing in innovative services and technologies that offer convenience and enhance customer’s experience. We adopted machine to machine communications at our service stations in 2014 when we launched our ViP service, which enabled customers to refuel their vehicles automatically without the need for cash transactions. In 2015, we partnered with mobile payment licensed providers in the UAE to launch advanced and secure mobile payment solutions for fuel and nonfuel services.
This new mobile technology allows customers to validate the filled amount automatically from the pump or Point Of Sale on their mobile before confirming the payment, which ensures the security of the transaction. We will continue to invest in similar projects as we believe that technology brings solutions designed to enhance quality of life in the emirates.
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