Gas in United Arab Emirates

Gas Production50.2Mtoe per year

Amount in place6.58thousand Mtoe

Gas Recoverable Reserves5.48thousand Mtoe

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an important nation in regards to natural gas due to their large total of proved natural gas reserves and natural gas consumption. The UAE had a substantial 6,091 bcm of proved natural gas reserves as of 2014. Abu Dhabi is currently responsible for a large majority of the country’s total proved reserves. This level of proved natural gas reserves gave the UAE the seventh largest total in the world, yet only the fourth largest total in the Middle East.

The UAE’s natural gas production has been growing in recent years and the country produced 54.2 bcm of natural gas in 2014, which represented 5.8% growth year-over-year. Although the UAE’s natural gas production has been growing, their 2014 production level only made them the world’s 17th largest natural gas producer, which is low relative to their global status for total proved reserves.

One of the key reasons that the country does not produce more natural gas is that a majority of their natural gas contains high sulphur. Therefore, this leads to large increases in both technical difficulty and economic cost in order to develop and process these natural gas reserves. The process is still very challenging and expensive, however recent technological developments have led to some improvement in the process.

The UAE is a significant consumer of natural gas and their consumption has been consistently growing in recent years. In 2014, the country consumed 69.3 bcm of natural gas, which made them the ninth largest natural gas consumer in the world. Additionally, this marked the fifth straight year of growth in terms of natural gas consumption. Natural gas is responsible for a majority of the UAE’s primary energy consumption. More specifically, natural gas represented 60.4% of the country’s primary energy consumption in 2014. A significant portion of the UAE’s natural gas use is for electricity generation and desalination.

Even with the UAE’s massive total of proved natural gas reserves, the country still must import natural gas in order to meet their natural gas demand. The UAE is a major importer of pipeline natural gas, however they also both import and export natural gas via LNG. In 2014, the UAE imported 18 bcm of pipeline natural gas, which came exclusively from Qatar. Additionally, the country exported 8 bcm of natural gas via LNG, of which 7.7 bcm went to Japan, while also importing 1.9 bcm of LNG. Therefore, the UAE has the unique title of being a pipeline natural gas net importer and LNG net exporter. In summary, the UAE imported a net total of 11.9 bcm of natural gas in 2014.

Note

Gas data represents natural gas only, for unconventional gas please refer country notes within the WER 2013 report gas chapter.

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