UAE gas supply 'below peak demand'
Abu Dhabi, February 21, 2008
When summer temperatures soar and power stations work at full capacity, gas supplies in the the UAE are around 20 per cent below demand, an energy official said.
Record oil revenues have fuelled an economic boom in the region, and the UAE has struggled to keep up with rising demand for gas from power plants and industry.
Power demand and the population in the UAE are rising at 10-13 per cent per year, Emirates General Petroleum Corpo-ration gas operations manager Khalid Al Awadi said.
When air-conditioning units worked at full blast across the Gulf state last summer, gas demand peaked at around 5.5 billion cubic feet per day (cfd), 1 billion cfd above current maximum supply of 4.5 billion cfd, he said.
"The peak shortfall is about 1 billion cfd per day, which is being met with expensive diesel oil," he said.
Aside from burning oil products such as diesel, industrial users also turned to coal in some parts of the UAE last year.
Gas demand during summer months is around 40 per cent above the annual average, he said. UAE gas demand for power generation and water desalination plants was expected to double over the next 10 years, he said.
In addition, more demand was expected from cement and fertiliser manufacturers, aluminium and steel smelters and other industrial users, he added.
Abu Dhabi will add around 10,000mw of power capacity over the next five years, he said. Dubai will add around 5,000mw by the year 2010, he added. Gas is the fuel of choice for the new plants.
The UAE is looking at nuclear and solar power and development of its sour gas reserves to meet future energy demand. If all those sectors are developed, the country could close its gas supply shortfall by 2020, Al Awadi said.
If not, then gas shortages could cost the country as much as Dh500 million ($136.2 million) per day by 2020, he said.
Current gas supplies are just over 2bn cfd from state oil firm Adnoc, another 2bn cfd from Dolphin Energy which imports from Qatar, and around 300m cfd from Dubai, he said. The emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah also have small amounts.
Adnoc said on Tuesday it planned to boost its supply to 3.6bn cfd next year from around 2bn cfd now.