NEWS FROM THE U.A.E.
(Excerpts from U.A.E. Daiies)
Expatriate workers to be screened for their skills
Dubai: 20 June: A closer examination of unskilled workers coming to the UAE is to start soon, said the Minister of Labour.
Dr Abdullah Al Ka'abi said in a statement there will be a closer examination of their skills to qualify for a job in the UAE. This comes as part of the ministry's efforts to restrict incoming unskilled labour.
The ministry is planning to put a mechanism in place with the help of a Singapore-based company to screen unskilled workers before they are absorbed into the job market.
He said market now needs highly qualified workers. Hence, employees in the private sector should hold a university degree, while those pursuing vocational professions did not have to hold university degrees.
He, however, said this will change in the coming period where there will be a closer examination of their qualifications.
Dr Al Ka'abi said he had discussed the problem of absconders during his meeting with the International Migration Organisation in Geneva.
Majority of the absconders flee after undergoing medical tests which reveal they suffer from communicable diseases, he said.
Workers on visit visa will require health insurance
Abu Dhabi- 20 June: People coming to the UAE on a visit visa to then work in the country will have to prove they have health insurance before being allowed in under a new law coming into effect from January 2007.
If they are not covered the sponsor of the individual will be contacted and ordered to cover the expenses.
For those who enter the country on tourist visas without sponsorship, there is no need for insurance cover. If medical services are needed, visitors will have to pay for the cost of treatment themselves, says the law.
If visitors are insured in their home countries, they have to be provided with healthcare and the provider can claim the charges from the insurance company of the visitor later.
Only companies that have their own medical facilities maintained at high standards as per the code of regulations and audited by the General Authority of Health Services (GAHS) will not be required to provide health insurance, according to the GAHS.
In a related development, the Private Health Insurance, approved by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, comes into effect from July 1.
It will provide health insurance to half-a-million low-paid expatriates. Companies and firms employing more than 1,000 staff will have to provide insurance cover for them.
The second phase covering all expatriates comes into force from January 2007.
Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazroui, director general of the GAHS, said: “All companies within the emirate of Abu Dhabi will have to comply with the law. Sufficient time has been given to do so.” Under the law, any company not providing the necessary health insurance cover for its employees will be subject to severe punitive action.
The GAHS has formed a committee with other government entities to supervise the law’s implementation by conducting inspections to ensure firms comply with the law.
Taxi drivers 'refuse fares'
Dubai/Sharjah: 20 June: Residents are at their wits' end as taxis refuse to stop for them as they stand outside in the heat, and are upset at the inefficiency of public transport.
The latest ordeal happened to a mother of a 20-month-old baby, Preety Anand, from India.
While standing near Al Maktoum Bridge at a nearby petrol station at 3.30pm, mother and child were left standing for almost 45 minutes as taxi after taxi passed by, refusing to stop.
"I was desperate for a taxi. My baby was turning red because it was so hot, and the taxis continued to pass me by," she said.
Preety called the customer service hotline number to complain and was left speechless.
"I started telling the person on the other line my complaint, and they slammed down the phone. This is unacceptable behaviour, because it shows they don't care about their customers."
A Dubai Transport representative told Gulf News that if passengers had complaints, they should write down the taxi's number and forward it to the hotline number.
"We need the number of the taxi so we can take action. Taxi drivers should not be rude or refuse passengers," said the representative.
Another resident expressed his dissatisfaction with public transport when he witnessed a recent incident of passengers being turned away.
The taxi driver passed a man carrying luggage who was trying to flag him down, and stopped instead for a woman who was 50 metres down the road.
But when she told him where she wanted to go, the taxi driver refused to take her and drove on.
UAE national Fatima Mohammad was waiting for a taxi at the Gold Souq in Deira to go to her office near the Dnata office. Four taxis passed by, but not before asking where she wanted to go.
"They told me that the distance was too short, and then waved at me to go away," she said, adding onlookers told her that taxi drivers prefer to pick up tourists heading towards Shaikh Zayed Road.
Sharjah taxis have other problems and many drivers do not know how to drive, complain residents.
"I get very scared when I get inside one because they drive terribly. I do not know how they got their driving licences," said Luai Zeno, of Lebanon.
However, when passengers flag them down, they do stop.
"When I stop a taxi, I have 10 honking for me to get in. It's never been an issue for me to find one," he said.
"Taxi drivers are very good people, but sometimes they have problems," said A.H. Tabara, who said they sometimes gave excuses as to why they could not pick up passengers.
"They drive better than they used to. Last year, many accidents involving taxis occurred but I don't think it's as bad as before," said Jagannath from India.
Cabs 'are unsafe and dirty'
Donna Michaels, from Australia, said a lot of taxis in Abu Dhabi were unsafe.
"Most of the taxis don't have seatbelts in the back of the car, which is very bad, especially for children.
"My child takes the taxi alone sometimes and he never finds a seatbelt. In addition, some drivers are very crazy while driving and they don't take into consideration the lives of their passengers," she said.
Jaber Dimasi, from Lebanon, said since taxis in Abu Dhabi were cheap, then people should not expect a five-star service.
"Dubai's taxis are very expensive, but all of them are clean and neat. In Abu Dhabi taxis are dirty because they are cheap," he said.
Maria Cortez, from Spain, said taxi drivers' rudeness is one of the main problems she faces.
"In addition to that, I can rarely find a clean cab, most of the cabs I get into have an unpleasant smell, and I sometimes find the seats are greasy," she said.
To make a complaint, call:
04-2080808 (For Dubai residents)
7000 6 7000 (For Sharjah residents)
Draft human trafficking law to go before committee next week
U.A.E.: 20 June: A draft law that aims to make it easier to identify and punish human traffickers is to be presented next week before a law committee ahead of its finalisation.
“We are firming up the law right now, and it will go before the law committee next week. After that, all its points will be finalised,” said an official at the Ministry of Justice.
The law, he revealed, aims to specifically protect women who are forcibly brought into the country to work as maids and prostitutes.
“We are working to address this problem because we are a country that is focusing on tourism and development. Unfortunately, it is this that some [traffickers] are taking advantage of by bringing in women on tourist visas, who then disappear,” he said.
The Trafficking in Persons Report 2006, prepared by the US Department of State, said the UAE may have as many as 10,000 trafficked women, a fact that the official said weighed heavily in his ministry’s decision to further fight the issue.
The UAE is on the report’s Tier Two Watch List. It goes on to say that the UAE has proven to be a destination for women trafficked out of Armenia, Malaysia, Sudan and other countries.
While the country does not yet fully comply in its legislation to curb the problem, the report says “however, the UAE is making significant efforts to do so.” It recommended greater efforts to screen women coming into the country to ensure they were not being trafficked, and also urged the facilitation of reporting against traffickers, which the new law will also address, according to the official.
“We are also considering providing amnesty to women who help us catch those responsible for their trafficking and breaking rings of this kind,” the ministry official revealed.
Women who are brought or kept forcibly in the country have been urged to call the 999 emergency number and report their problem to the police.
“Right now, one of our biggest problems is actually receiving personal complaints from the women. It is hard to know sometimes who is trafficked and who is not. We hope that with the new law, and the hotline, we can address this,” he informed.
The punishment for trafficking is to be criminalised further, and may involve a minimum jail term of five years for those convicted, according to the ministry official.
The law is expected to be brought into force by the end of 2006 or early 2007.
Fourteen sent to prison for manslaughter
Dubai - 20 June: Dubai Criminal Court has sentenced 10 Indian men to five years in jail and four others to three years for manslaughter. They will later be deported.
The defendants were also charged with possessing illicit liquor, returning to the country after being deported, staying illegally in the UAE and working for employers other than their sponsors.
Court records showed that a jobless UAE national, identified as DM, used to blackmail the defendants who were staying in Al Quoz Industrial Area and were involved in bootlegging. He used to come to their labour camp and take money from them in return for not reporting them to the police, the court heard.
The labourers got fed up and decided not to give him any more money. They also decided to assault him if he came to see them again.
On August 8 last year, they beat him to death.
The Dubai Court of First Instance altered the charge of the defendants from premeditated murder to “assault that unintentionally led to death”.
The sentence was made more lenient for the other four defendants because of their young age. (Al Bayan)
Ministry to get tough on firms who flout working hours policy
Dubai - 20 June : Construction companies in Dubai are getting ready for the implementation of new labour laws regarding midday breaks for labourers.
The Ministry of Labour wants the new regulations implemented from July 1 and has warned firms that inspections will be carried out and fines imposed on those that violate the rules.
Under the new law, firms must not make labourers work between 12.30pm and 3pm during July and August.
This is a change from the four-hour breaks last year, which were from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, and follow calls from company bosses to keep the workers on site rather than ferry them to and from work during breaktimes.
Companies will also be required to provide shade for workers and the provision of water coolers as temperatures rise to the high 40s during these two months.
Dr Khalid Al Khazraji, the Ministry of Labour undersecretary, said that during July and August the department’s inspectors would be out in force to make sure that the laws were being followed.
“For two months these new timings need to be implemented,” he added.
“Our inspectors are always on site making sure the labour laws are implemented and making sure the workers have a break.” Companies found violating the order will receive be fined Dh10,000 and will not be able to apply for new labour permits for three months.
Emaar Properties said it was taking the ministry’s law very seriously and had already made provisions.
An Emaar spokesperson said: “In line with the Ministry of Labour’s new recommendations to amend the work timings in the afternoon, Emaar has instructed its contractors to strictly adhere to them.
“This work schedule has been specially formulated for the welfare of the workers.” Dennis Bolger, the health, safety and environment manager for Ducto Balfour Beatty, the company behind Dubai Mall, said his firm had changed its working hours during the months of July and August.
“We are reverting to a 2am to 12.30pm and 4pm to 2.30am shift pattern so the workers will not have to face the hottest hours,” he added.
Christopher Horn, a principal consultant with Corporate Health Safety Solutions, which completes audits across the UAE, said it was worth the company’s while to make provisions for their workers.
Pile-up delays office-goers
Dubai: 20 June: The sight was all too familiar the road clogged with vehicles but it took motorists much longer yesterday to get to their destinations.
The area of Ras Al Khor road, commonly known as the Al Khail road, was choked around 9am yesterday when a truck rammed into a car, which then collided with another, leading to a nine-vehicle pile-up. The traffic jam lasted until noon. No injuries were reported in the accident, which police said was caused by a reckless truck driver and the car which tried to overtake quickly.
Mohammad, whose office is in Al Quoz, said he was to report at work at 9.30am, but arrived after noon. "I left my house early in Sharjah, but was stuck for hours on the road. Traffic crawled along the road."
Another motorist said he takes the road to get to work faster, but yesterday was chaotic. Most motorists said it took them two to three hours to get to work.
Strict measures are on the way to check reckless drivers especially truckers, who pose serious danger to motorists.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has issued orders to the departments concerned to adopt measures to improve traffic safety standards, especially on the Al Khail Road and Jumeirah Road.
He has ordered strict action against drivers, particularly truck drivers, who violate traffic laws and safety norms, putting the lives of other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Following these orders, Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, and Brigadier Eisa Aman Obaid, Deputy Director of the Dubai Traffic Police, held a meeting to discuss measures to implement the Ruler's directives.
Shaikh Mohammad has directed the RTA, Traffic Police Department and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to tighten control of truck drivers who fail to observe road safety rules and regulations.
Elsewhere in Dubai, another minor accident on Al Ittihad Road near Al Garhoud Bridge disrupted traffic for an hour because motorists slowed down to take a look.
Police said this was a big problem they face because motorist usually slow down to take a look at the accidents, disrupting traffic flow.
"Motorists must not stop and watch accidents because this will not only hamper rescue operations, but also disrupt traffic."
Girl drowns in Sharjah hotel pool
Sharjah: 20 June: A 12-year-old girl drowned and her younger sister was rescued when they were swimming in a hotel pool, police sources said.
Police said the incident occurred on Sunday. The sisters, both UAE nationals, went swimming after 9pm when there were no lifeguards.
Hotel security spotted one girl who was rescued. Police searched the pool to discover the 12-year-old girl's body around 1am.
I can't stop smiling, says Postcard Millionaire winner
Dubai: 20 June: Freddie Alfonso, a Filipino who works at Dubai Ports, was the winner of the 49th Postcard Millionaire draw that took place last Wednesday.
He was presented with a Dh100,000 cheque by Abdulla Al Daboos, Chairman of Emirates Marketing & Promotions (EMP) and Director-General of Emirates Post.
"I can't stop smiling, because of this opportunity I have been given from Postcard Millionaire; I have a lot of debts and need to pay them off soon. My son also needs a lip operation and I will use some of the money for that," he said.
Ahmad Tahlak, the CEO of EMP and Mohammad Kamal Assistant CEO, Operation & Services at EMP picked 4972015945 as the winning number in the 49th draw of the 2005 Postcard Millionaire campaign.
In line with customer feedback, the on-going 2005 Postcard Millionaire campaign was adapted to incorporate a host of new features, including double the prize money, more instant prizes, including cash prizes of up to Dh10,000, and fixed weekly draws every Wednesday, in which one lucky person will win Dh100,000.
The new pre-draw ticket registration guarantees that every ticket is entered into the draw and enables the organisers to contact winners directly after each draw.
Registration can be accomplished via SMS on 6113 or the dedicated IVR number on 600 566 566. Each registered ticket is valid for entry into a single draw; all registered tickets will be entered into the grand draw for Dh1 million at the end of the campaign.
No death-by stoning in our country
DUBAI — 20 June:UAE has never carried out any death-by-stoning sentence, officials at the Ministry of Justice told Khaleej Times in the context of an order passed by an emirati court recently.
Even as the appeals court has amended the Fujairah Shariah Court’s verdict, in an adultery case yesterday, and reduced the sentence to one-year jail for the accused man, Amnesty International has launched a global initiative against such practices.
The man, Shahin Abdull Rahman, had been convicted last month of committing adultery with housemaid Asmaa Bikham Bijam, who was also sentenced to 100 lashes and a year in jail.
The Fujairah court had been told that the couple began an affair after meeting by chance in a local market. Rahman admitted he was married, but started the affair because he was lonely after being unable to arrange for his wife to move with him to the Emirates from Bangladesh.
Rahman and Bijam were reported to police last year by the maid's employer, who suspected the domestic servant was bringing a man to her room once the rest of the household was asleep.
The maid's employer kept the girl under surveillance and after seeing her let a man in through a back door called the police.
Witnesses told the Fujairah court the couple were naked in bed when the police burst in through the maid's bedroom door.
After a trial in April 2005, the court eventually handed down the stoning and flogging sentence on June 10.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also toed the Amnesty line on the issue. HRW opposes 'capital punishment in all circumstances".
A legal expert with the Ministry of Justice, who said such sentences were never carried out in the UAE, said a confession and four witnesses to an actual sex act were needed for a stoning sentence to be carried out.
Inferring the sentence was more symbolic than literal, the Ministry expert said the convicted man would have the sentence commuted to a lesser punishment, or even be acquitted, if he appealed his sentence and withdrew his confession.
Last week, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation quashed a flogging sentence issued for a misdemeanor offence and advised judges to restrict the future issuing of such sentences for minor offences.
The committee, presided over by Justice Minister Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhahiri, took the decision after reviewing evidence that showed many judges were imposing flogging sentences where fines or minor prison sentences were actually warranted.
Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Al Kamali, Director General of the Judicial Institute, said the enforcement of flogging had become a popular sentence with judges, who were applying it even on traffic and juvenile cases. "This has raised a lot of problems which spurred the committee to quash the sentence," he said.
Dr Al Kamali said misdemeanor crimes demanded a sentence of jail term for one month to three years and a fine between Dh100 to Dh30,000 as per the penal code.
Sex worker found dead in Deira flat
DUBAI — 20 June:The body of an unidentified woman was found in a flat near Jesco Supermarket in Al Muraqqabat area in Dubai on Saturday.
An initial examination of the scene by the police pointed to a murder.
The watchman of the building had earlier informed the general department of the operations room of the Dubai Police that a bad smell was emanating from a flat on the fourth floor. A team of officials from the Murraqabat police station rushed to the crime scene and, upon breaking open the apartment, found the decomposed body of a woman.
The assailants had apparently hit the woman on the head and other parts of the body with a heavy iron implement. The preliminary investigation at the crime scene indicated that the woman had been killed two days ago and that she had tried to resist her attackers.
The police also learnt that the deceased was a prostitute and that several men had been seen entering her apartment on the day of the incident.
The woman's body has been taken to Forensic Department for detailed analysis to facilitate the investigation.
Deportation warning fails to break workers' strike
DUBAI — 20 June: Despite the deportation warning by the Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs, 3,500-odd workers of the Dubai Contracting Company pressed ahead with their protest for the third consecutive day yesterday.
The agitating workers stayed back at their labour camps in Sonapur, Al Quoz and Jebel Ali holding firm to their demands, which include better salaries and proper payment of overtime.
Workers said they had been employed with the company over an extended period but their salary had never once been raised. "Living costs in Dubai are spiralling by the day. We have been working on small salaries for years. We cannot survive now in the face of fast-changing living conditions and insist that the company look into our problems," said a worker who did not wish to be named.
Another worker said, "I am working for a salary of Dh700 a month. The company does not pay us proper overtime. We want full payment of overtime and also an increase in salaries."
When contacted, Iyad Bin Khadra, a company spokesperson, insisted: "We always pay the salary on time and we provide medical insurance. For the last 40 years, the company has been functioning well. I think there are some people who are instigating this protest but I don't know wether it is somebody from amongst the workers or from outside."
Labour officials and police were extending the company management all necessary support to address any grievances, Bin Khadra said. The company too was disbursing salaries as per the contract signed with workers in accordance with UAE labour laws," he added.
The company had extended the workers the option of returning to their respective countries or to report for work immediately, he said. The workers however seemed scarcely inclined to consider either.
The workers' demands had also kept changing from time to time, said Bin Khadra. On occasions, the demand had been for stepped up salaries while, at other times, the issue raised was that of proper overtime payments.
With the workers themselves sounding incoherent about their demands, he said he was convinced that the protest had been instigated by some troublemakers. Workers at the Sonapur camp of the company started the protest on Saturday but it soon caught on in other camps in Jebel Ali and Al Qouz.
U.A.E BUSINESS NEWS
Abu Dhabi to enforce new governance code
Abu Dhabi: 20 June: Companies listed on Abu Dhabi bourse will be governed by a new code and brokers must comply with new capital adequacy norms, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) said.
Hareb Al Darmaki also underscored the need for more regulation, trading instruments and changes for the development of the stock exchange.
"ADSM is committed to a policy of consultation about any major change that affects the market. As a result, we will be introducing a new corporate governance code for listed companies and we will be implementing new capital adequacy requirements for brokers," he said at the first annual general meeting of the exchange.
ADSM is not just implementing new rules for brokers, but has also designed a certification programme to demonstrate its commitment to education and training of those who operate in the financial market.
"The aim is to create a more flexible environment for the operation of brokers, where they take responsibility for managing the risks of their businesses in a way that is regulated to international standards."
Since the end of 2001, the number of listed companies has grown fourfold; there are now nearly six times as many brokerage firms and 70 per cent of those have been added in the last year or so, he said.
"The market capitalisation is 20 times higher, we have 50 times as many shareholders registered and turnover and the number of trades are 150 times higher. Brokerage firms employ around 500 staff and we have around 250 registered representatives," he said.
Nationals make up about 74 per cent of its employees.
Trends in the development of exchanges internationally along with globalisation and the widespread acceptance of the benefits of standards are leading to a standard model for the regulation and operation of securities markets.
"Some UAE laws and regulations therefore need to be improved, some additional laws and regulations are needed and new instruments and markets, such as bonds, must be developed to further improve the efficiency of capital markets."
ADSM strives for better rules
Abu Dhabi: UAE laws and regulations must be improved to further improve the efficiency of capital markets, Hareb Al Darmaki, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM), told Gulf News.
Rashad Al Beloushi, ADSM's acting director-general, said, "The UAE stock markets are governed by a variety of rules and regulations: some are at the market level, others are at the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority [Esca] level, and some are at the Central Bank level, and further, others are at the Ministry of Economy level."
He said a serious revision was needed because "regulations are at points on a collision course, such as those for new issues which are under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, whereas it should be an Esca's concern."
"ADSM utilised the services of an international institution for the purpose of verifying the contradictions, and suggesting the appropriate amendments, the recommendations have been sent to each of the concerned parties, and we are awaiting the response."
Ziad Al Dabbas, adviser, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said, "Esca should be the only authority concerned with stock market issues."
Nokia-Siemens merger to boost UAE firms
Dubai - 20 June: The local telecom scene is already counting on accruing benefits as Nokia and Siemens merge their network equipment businesses.
The firms unveiled plans yesterday to create the world’s fourth biggest mobile and fixed networks maker, with combined annual revenue of approximately Dh73.5 billion.
To be called Nokia Siemens Networks, the company will begin operations by January.
Osman Sultan, Chief Executive officer of du, hailed the deal and said his firm would benefit, having chosen Nokia earlier this year as its technology partner. Nokia is in the process of rolling out a second- and third-generation mobile network throughout the country for du.
“In the long-term, I think the two players will grow stronger because there are a lot of synergies between them,” said Sultan.
Dr Walid Moneimne, senior vice-president of networks for Nokia in the Middle East and North Africa, said it is premature to outline how the new company will affect the firm’s regional operations in the UAE.
But analysts said Siemens stands to become a beneficiary of Nokia’s status as du’s technologypartner.
Du is preparing to launch mobile services in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by fixed-line and internet services in 2007.
Under the Dh698 million contract, Nokia will manage du’s network – so the joint venture’s role in du’s development could be far-reaching, said Sultan. Nokia had given du a heads up about the merger prior to the announcement, the CEO added.
“Mobile infrastructure or any telecom infrastructure nowadays is constantly changing, evolving and moving according to trends. As a client, I see this as positive because it shows that our major technology partner is on a roadmap that embraces the trend toward consolidation,” he said.
The move marks a further step towards consolidation among IT companies, following the April merger of Alcatel and Lucent.
Ericcson, Etisalat’s intelligent network provider, meanwhile, agreed last October to buy Marconi’s broadband internet and telecommunications assets for Dh8.2bn.
“The market is moving towards consolidation. In a few years there will be around three major providers and we are definitely going to be one of them,” said Fergi Varghese, Siemens head of corporate communications.
Borouge expansion project on course for 2010 finish
Abu Dhabi : 20 June: Abu Dhabi-based polymers manufacturer Borouge, which posted a turnover of $860 million (Dh3.15 billion) in 2005, yesterday said its expansion project, including the world’s largest olefins conversion unit, is on track to be completed by the middle of 2010.
The Borouge 2 expansion will triple production capacity at the firm’s petrochemicals manufacturing facility in Ruwais, said Harri Bucht, CEO of Abu Dhabi Polymers, which is responsible for Borouge’s production lines.
“Borouge 2 is a major step for Borouge as it represents a new phase not just for the company, but also for Abu Dhabi. It is one of the world’s largest plastics projects and will triple production capacity at the Ruwais facility. It will encourage the growth of downstream,” said Bucht.
The expansion comprises an ethane cracker that will produce 1.4 million tonnes of ethylene per annum and the world’s biggest 752 kilo tonnes per annum olefins conversion unit. Its two Borstar enhanced polypropylene plants will have a combined annual capacity of 800 kilo tonnes while the Borstar enhanced polyethylene plant will boast an annual capacity of 540 kilo tonnes.
Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) of the project’s utilities and off-sites is due for completion this summer while the polyolefins unit is scheduled for completion in late summer.
The FEED of the olefins conversion unit is set for completion in September this year, Bucht said.
“Progress on the project has been rapid. Evaluation of the bids for the cracker package will be completed by October and the project is expected to be delivered by mid-2010,” he said.
The expansion comes in the wake of increasing demand for plastics, which is “mirroring the growth of the economy, not just in terms of volume but also for the kind of differentiated, specialist materials we create”, said Borouge’s CEO Hubert Puchner, who is responsible for the sales and marketing of the company and is based in Singapore.
Billions to be spent on gas exploration
Abu Dhabi - 20 June: The UAE is pushing ahead with a massive drive to tap its gas resources by pumping billions of dollars into projects to increase production, set up more gas-related industries and boost gas injection to increase oil extraction.
With its proven gas wealth exceeding six trillion cubic metres at the end of 2005, the UAE is the fifth largest gas power in the world.
Its liquid natural gas complex on Das Island produces in excess of eight million tonnes per year.
“We still feel there is more work to be done,” said Fahim Kazim, Adgas’s assistant general manager.
Figures released by the Ministry of Energy showed that the UAE produced a record 65 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2005, an increase of nearly 15 billion cubic metres five years ago.
The increase was prompted by a steady growth in local consumption for power generation, domestic use, industries and gas injection for oil output expansion. But according to the ministry, the rise in production was not at the expense of environment.
“In order to affirm its commitment to [the] environment, the UAE has taken measures to reduce gas flaring and this cut flared gas to only 630 million cubic metres in 2004 from 1.29 billion cubic metres in 2000,” the ministry said. (WAM)