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Energy Minister Participates in UAE-Russia Forum

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, stressed that the UAE aspires to strengthen mutual cooperation ties with Russia and to boost mutual investments, in view of the sizeable economic potential of both countries especially in the energy and renewable energy sector.

In his address, before the UAE-Russia Economic Forum held in Abu Dhabi on December 16th 2013, under the theme “Energy Security in an Era of Market Transformation”, the Minister added that Russia possesses rich energy resources and is heading towards playing an active role in the new world market. “This is why we look forward for mutual investments between both sides”, the Minister said.

His Excellency affirmed that friendship ties between both nations and peoples are strong in view of the mutual interests, which create a special and unique framework of bilateral relations. Such relations were further reinforced and stabilized due to the sincere will of the political leaderships of both UAE and Russia. Thus the relationship evolved into an outstanding model of ties that are based on mutual respect and the pursuit of interests of both the friendly UAE and Russia peoples in reaching a state of progress and balanced growth.

Al Mazrouei further indicated that the UAE continues to diversify its energy sources in view of population growth and the expected future rise in energy prices.

His Excellency said that investing in nuclear energy has been a wise and shrewd decision, explaining that UAE seeks to meet 25% of its electricity demands through nuclear energy. He also pointed out that investment in renewable energy, especially in energy generation from solar energy, is an important matter despite its high cost compared to electricity generation using gas. The Minister noted that “A few years ago the price of an oil barrel was within $30 to $40, but it is much higher nowadays and prices may go even higher in the coming years”.

“The times are changing and we plan to build a liquefied gas factory with a capacity of 9 million tonnes. We see a future for investing in renewable energy sources.” said the Minister, adding that “Production from renewable energy sources is on the rise”.

His Excellency noted that the relationship with the East, including Russia, is the logical choice both commercially and politically, in view of the global variables and that this applies to relations with South Korea, Japan and other countries.

He added that “Undoubtedly the business sector in both our countries has competently embarked into the arena of economic activity demonstrating an overall magnificent performance in the course of the development process, as it successfully contributed to the building process and leadership of economic, commercial, industrial, agricultural and service establishments”.

“Our bilateral relationship has seen continued growth reaffirmed with the common desire to achieve more by intensifying and diversifying our cooperation channels in various fields, especially in the field of energy and alternative energy, which is a channel where we see an inclusive framework bringing us together for consultation and discussion of energy affairs amid market fluctuations” said His Excellency, adding that “We hope to increase the opportunities and areas where we work together”, considering that the elements and channels of this cooperation are wide and diverse in the field of energy which is a gateway towards more comprehensive relationships.

The Minister expressed hope in stimulation and mobilisation of the business sector and investors in both countries to execute joint projects, develop the process of trade exchange, exchange visits and expertise, establish specialised companies in the fields of energy (particularly oil and gas industry) and the joint endeavour to overcome obstacles hindering the smooth flow of commodities and services between the two countries.

For his part, Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, said that Russia’s relations with the UAE are “strategic relations which do not stop at the limits of the energy field, but go further into the production of modern technologies”. He said that “There is a strong cause and political support behind our relations”, adding that “We need to go towards realising tangible projects, since it is the common goal, which shall soon be achieved”.

Belyakov explained that this forum is an important opportunity to study the submitted and proposed schemes, pointing out that an important opportunity is expected to emerge in the field of energy on the background of the agreement which Abu Dhabi recently signed with the Russian Federation to invest about $ 5 billion.

Last September the Government of Abu Dhabi had signed a memorandum of Intent (MoI) with the Russian Federation to establish a joint investment between the Emirate’s Finance Department and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), to invest in Russian infrastructure projects.

“The UAE has achieved, in record time, a giant leap in growth and development which could be noticed by any visitor”, Belyakov said, stressing that “If we work together and strengthen our relations, we shall be able to achieve important results”.

 For his part, Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairperson of UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, lauded the outstanding level of economic and investment cooperation ties between the UAE and Russia.

He said that the forum aims at promoting areas of cooperation and establishing joint UAE-Russian projects in the energy sector. Al Rumaithi added that the two friendly countries possess huge potentials and advanced expertise in the oil and gas sectors, particularly in the fields of storage, transport, refinement and excavation in addition to the petrochemical industry.

Al Rumaithi emphasised that the economic and technical cooperation ties between the UAE and Russia have witnessed positive developments in the course of the few recent years, following the visits of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, which greatly boosted these relations and contributed to the expansion of economic partnerships, reinforcement and diversification of investment opportunities and mutual benefit from the exchange of experiences and expertise in the industry, energy, economic and investment sectors.

He also pointed out that “In view of the natural and economic potentials and capabilities possessed by the two friendly countries, we hope that this forum contributes to increasing the volume of commercial exchange between them to achieve high levels that reflect the potential, capabilities and sincere desire of their respective leaderships to expand cooperation fields and establish a strategic economic partnership for the benefit of businesspersons, investors and companies in the both countries”.

Al Rumaithi explained that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached $ 1.5 billion last year. He added that Russia with its strategic weight as a major state can become a strategic partner of the UAE in all economic, industrial and technological areas, through transfer of technology and expertise to the UAE in the fields of space, communications, petrochemical industry and energy production.

Al Rumaithi affirmed the interest of many UAE companies to benefit from investment opportunities available in Russia, and extended an invitation to Russian industrial companies to invest in the UAE and benefit from the incentives and facilities provided by the concerned bodies in the UAE to ensure the success of foreign investment projects.

H.E. Alexander Efimov, ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UAE, said that the diversification of energy sources in today’s world is considered to be an essential key towards achieving sustainable development and economic growth. He added that in the age of globalisation, energy production and consumption has become subject to the desire of the political leadership and that this should be exploited to serve the common interests of both countries.

The ambassador hailed the considerable progress accomplished by the UAE in the fields of income sources diversification and energy production which he considered to be promising achievements for an optimistic future. 

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