Interview: Saeed Khoory
What new infrastructure is needed in Dubai to support the emirate's energy needs?
SAEED KHOORY: The two most important energy infrastructure projects under way in Dubai are the Falcon Jet Fuel Pipeline and the refinery in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. The 60-km pipeline to supply Dubai International Airport is nearly complete, while the refinery expansion that began in 2010 is ongoing, with yet another phase now under consideration.
As development of the World Expo 2020 corridor continues and as airport traffic rises, a second jet fuel pipeline may soon be required to support the commercial development of Al Maktoum International Airport. This will, in turn, equate to higher volumes of fuel imports, which means that parallel expansion of the refinery would also be required.
New processing units will allow Dubai to provide a wider spectrum of products such as transport fuels with higher-octane index, ultra-low sulphur diesel and low-sulphur jet fuel. Due to these projects, we are currently evaluating the broader expansion to our entire terminal in Jebel Ali. We have the resources to leverage for future expansion based on requirements and following due diligence.
In what ways will Fujairah's role in energy storage and distribution evolve in the coming years?
KHOORY: As Fujairah's facilities continue to grow, they become an increasingly strategic component of the UAE's energy sector equation. The emirate is seeing significant investment in terminals, storage capacity for crude oil and other oil derivatives, as well as production of retail products such as lubricants. Additionally, the plans for a large crude carrier jetty in the Port of Fujairah will be a major boon for further investment, placing the emirate firmly in the ranks of top oil storage hubs in the world.
Consequently, we hope to see a higher volume of oil-trading activity taking place as physical capacity grows. Through a pre-existing joint venture, ENOC recently announced plans to construct five new crude oil storage tanks in Fujairah.
Additionally, of utmost importance will be the continued improvement of surrounding infrastructure and logistical support to help solidify Fujairah's competitiveness as a regional oil trading hub.
What opportunities in green energy could open up to investors in the near future?
KHOORY: With the UAE’s focus on sustainable development, there is strong interest and committed efforts to diversify energy sources, with an emphasis on renewable energy.
The introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) into Dubai’s retail fuel landscape is a good example of this, and is an important first step to offering options in green fuels and reducing the emirate's reliance on traditional fuel sources.
Local government agencies and the Dubai Municipality have assisted in launching this pilot project, which is centred on a CNG production unit that converts landfill and sewage waste into bio-methane and then processes it into CNG form.
The conversion facility is ear-marked to produce enough automotive green fuel to power 15,000 vehicles a day while also reducing the amount of waste being processed at the emirate's two main landfills in Jebel Ali and Al Qusais.
We see this as a significant starting point to hopefully trigger additional investments focused on eco-friendly fuel solutions in the near future. One of the keys to attracting further investment in this area will be fostering a more unified approach across the GCC, as economies of scale are essential to the feasibility of many green fuel projects.
Despite the potential of green energy projects, the energy subsidies that are active throughout the region present a number of challenges. However, it is of the utmost importance that we find a way to enhance cooperation and regionalisation in this area.
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