Fujairah, the only emirate that lies on the eastern side of the UAE with direct access to the Indian Ocean, is well placed to offer the Gulf States a gateway to lucrative Asian markets as an extension of an ever increasing integrated energy infrastructure, industry experts and officials said.
The Abu Dhabi-Fujairah oil pipeline is the latest piece of critical regional connectivity that offers export channels from the Port of Fujairah direct to India and beyond to Asia, and presents a template for other exporting countries to consider.
The infrastructure-led approach has gone some way towards fostering greater economic integration between GCC states, with the regional electricity grid and the Dolphin gas pipeline network that culminates in Fujairah being cases in point.
The top 200 energy industry officials and executives from the GCC’s national oil companies, including ADNOC, ENOC, Aramco, KPC and Qatar, met with their international industry peers, including Vitol, Platts, EON, Total and Gulf Petrochem, at The 5th Gulf Intelligence Energy Markets Forum in Fujairah yesterday for what was the first regional debate after a turbulent summer on the international oil markets.
“Fujairah sits at the heart of the new South-South energy corridor at the spearhead of an integrated infrastructure opening up the East of Suez region to Asia, “ HE Dr. Matar Al-Neyadi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Chairman of the Gasoline and Diesel Prices Committee, told the intimate gathering of energy industry leaders. “Not only is Fujairah a world-scale bunkering and storage center, it is now an important crude oil export center and emerging as a downstream destination thanks to a unique mix of geography and strategic vision,“ HE AL-Neyadi said.
After years of stability above $100 a barrel, Brent crude oil has lost half its value over the last year, with three dramatic 50% swings in the interim period. The uncertain outlook has triggered the cancelation of many projects, jeopardizing much-needed investment in long-term oil production capacity.
The Gulf Arab States should combat this period of extreme volatility in the oil and gas markets by accelerating the integration of their regional energy infrastructure and extend the network’s connectivity to include regional neighbors in South Asia such as India and Pakistan, industry leaders and analysts said.
“In order to minimize the risks associated with oil price volatility, oil companies are adapting, expanding across the energy value chain and diversifying operations to become fully integrated oil and gas companies,” said Petri Pentti, Chief Financial Officer, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC). “Integration is the answer for stability as it reduces dependency on other industry players, while allowing them to partner, compete, and grow alongside the leading international and regional national oil companies,” he added.
“Greater integration of the region’s energy infrastructure is certainly one winning strategy to tackle volatility,” H.H. Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of the Department of Industry and Economy, Fujairah & Chairman of the Board of Port of Fujairah, told the audience at the commemorative 5th anniversary Energy Markets Forum.
The commemorative 5th anniversary Energy Markets Forum was hosted by H.H. Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of the Department of Industry and Economy, Fujairah & Chairman of the Board of Port of Fujairah The annual event attracted energy officials from India, Pakistan, Iran and China, who presented their visions on how best to integrate the infrastructure of the South and Central Asian region for the advancement of all economies, which would in time, put the Gulf industry one link away from half the world’s population.