US shale gas and oil exploration is prompting Abu Dhabi, where the hydrocarbon industry accounts for more than half of the economy, to speed efforts to bolster non-oil output, a senior government official said.
The holder of 6 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves "isn't underestimating the potential impact" of higher US hydrocarbon output, Mohammed Omar Abdullah, undersecretary of the emirate's Department of Economic Development, said in an e-mailed response to questions. The government "is accelerating its efforts toward the more diversified economy," he said.
Abu Dhabi announced a plan in January to spend Dh330 billion to fund development projects over five years. The government aims to bring the share of oil and gas in the economy to an average of 52 per cent from 2012 through 2016, Mr Abdulla said. The industry accounted for 59 per cent of gross domestic product at current prices in 2011, according to official data.
US oil output jumped to the highest level in two decades with the use of techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, prompting a cut in imports from some members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Opec, of which the UAE is a member, announced a study into shale at its May 31 meeting in Vienna.
* Bloomberg News