x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Energy security is now in the pipeline

A stable energy supply out of Fujairah creates confidence in global markets that are frequently affected by geopolitical uncertainty

Across mountain ranges and deserts, a 244 km gas pipeline from Taweelah to Fujairah was completed on Tuesday, while two weeks ago, the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline also wrapped up. Both are feats of engineering, but more importantly, the pipelines will buttress energy security in the region and make the price of oil less volatile.

A stable energy supply out of Fujairah creates confidence in global markets that are frequently affected by geopolitical uncertainty. And it is not often that an emirate emphatically redefines its role, as Fujairah has with these projects.

Mohammed al Afkham, the head of the Fujairah Municipality, told The National recently that these innovations are "going to change the face of Fujairah". Its ports will also benefit, as Fujairah is second in importance to Singapore for bunkering and refuelling.

It is not just Fujairah that benefits from these new technological additions, however. Now, up to 1.6 billion standard cubic feet of Qatari gas can be transported daily from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah, while 1.5 million barrels a day of crude oil for global consumption have another way out of the UAE. That is more than half of Abu Dhabi's current output.

Both pipelines act as a means to securely export energy supplies in the event of a maritime threat, and provide a practical work-around to concerns over the security of gas supplies through the GCC. The tanker wars fought in the Gulf during the 1980s demonstrated the need for a pipeline that could ensure the uninterrupted flow of oil and gas to the world market. Two fifths of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz but pipelines like the ones that will soon be operational in Fujairah make it less critical a choke point.

The pipelines still have to be protected. That is the task of the newly created CNIA, or Critical National Infrastructure Authority. The CNIA's mandate, to forestall "potential threats, possible disruption and imminent destruction", is now high on the nation's agenda.