UAE – Success Story of Nation Steering On Right Path and Direction Towards Meeting Objectives on Sustainable Development, and Economic GrowthJanuary 30, 2018
By Praveen Chadha
Sustainability is at the core of the UAE - from reducing the operational footprint, to developing renewable materials and safer products, to collaborating with others to create sustainable solutions. UAE is playing a vital role in the region with its adoption of 'green' standards across its various infrastructural projects.
The UAE and the region is reaching a new milestone in development and furthering its position among leading nations in the field of Sustainability; all in accordance with UAE's Vision 2021. Sustainability is a key priority for the government of the UAE, as clearly expressed in the words of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, who said that the UAE is diversifying its energy sources and enhancing its experience in international energy markets as a global hub of Renewable Energy Research and Development."
UAE FACTS AND FIGURES
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al-Quwain – located along the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The country covers an area of around 84 thousand square kilometres and has a population of over 9.8 million. More than 1 million people live in the capital, Abu Dhabi. Arabic is the country’s official language.
About 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product is directly based on oil and gas output. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE, the country has become a modern state with a high standard of living. The currency is the Dirham.
The United Arab Emirates President is HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The country jointed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1967.
Pertinent information as per OPEC
Below data covers 2016
|Population (million inhabitants)||9.856|
|Land area (1,000 sq km)||84|
|Population density (inhabitants per sq km)||117|
|GDP per capita ($)||37,678|
|GDP at market prices (million $)||371,353|
|Value of exports (million $)||298,653|
|Value of petroleum exports (million $)||45,559|
|Current account balance (million $)||11,546|
|Proven crude oil reserves (million barrels)||97,800|
|Proven natural gas reserves (billion cu. m.)||6,091.0|
|Crude oil production (1,000 b/d)||3,088.3|
|Marketed production of natural gas (million cu. m.)||61,083.7|
|Refinery capacity (1,000 b/cd)||1,124.0|
|Output of refined petroleum products (1,000 b/d)||1,089.0|
|Oil demand (1,000 b/d)||799.2|
|Crude oil exports (1,000 b/d)||2,407.8|
|Exports of petroleum products (1,000 b/d)||630.0|
|Natural gas exports (million cu. m.)||13,200.0|
• cu. m. (cubic metres)
• b/cd (barrels per calendar day)
Source: Annual Statistical Bulletin 2017
The Carbon Cycle and the Greenhouse Effect
The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to make Earth capable of sustaining life. In the past two centuries, human activities have altered the global carbon cycle, most significantly in the atmosphere.
The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.
Sustainability refers to ecology of nature. In ecology, sustainability (from sustain and ability) is the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely. In general terms, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes.
The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains:
The 2005 World Summit on Social Development identified sustainable development goals, such as economic development, social development and environmental protection. This view has been expressed as an illustration using three overlapping ellipses indicating that the three pillars of sustainability are not mutually exclusive and can be mutually reinforcing. In fact, the three pillars are interdependent, and in the long run none can exist without the others. The three pillars have served as a common ground for numerous sustainability standards and certification systems in recent years, in particular in the food industry.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the current harmonized set of seventeen future international development targets.
The Official Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted on 25 September 2015 has 92 paragraphs, with the main paragraph (51) outlining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its associated 169 targets. This included the following seventeen goals:
POSITIVE PROGRESS MADE BY UAE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
On 21st September 2016, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ratified the Paris Agreement and its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC) became its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The UAE pledged to pursue “a strategy of economic diversification that will yield mitigation and adaptation co-benefits”. UAE specifies that part of these efforts is increasing the share of renewable and nuclear energy in the total energy mix to 24% by 2021. 
The UAE Government wants to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development.
To do that, the UAE VISION 2021 National Agenda focuses on improving the quality of air, preserving water resources, increasing the contribution of clean energy and implementing green growth plans. Also, the National Agenda highlights the importance of infrastructure and aims for the UAE to be among the best in the world in the quality of airports, ports, road infrastructure, and electricity. And leading telecommunications infrastructure will allow the UAE to become a forerunner in the provision of Smart Services. Finally, seeking to further improve the quality of life of its citizens, the Agenda has set a target to provide suitable housing for eligible UAE nationals within a record timeframe.
National Key Performance Indicators:
1. Network Readiness Index (Telecommunication & IT sectors)
2. Share of Clean Energy Contribution
3. Quality of Air Transport Infrastructure
4. Quality of Port Infrastructure
5. Quality of Overall Infrastructure (such as transportation, electricity, and telephone lines)
6. Air Quality Index
7. Percentage of Treated Waste of Total Waste Generated
8. Water Scarcity Index
9. Logistics Performance Index
10. Online Services Index
11. Time to Obtain a Loan/House from the Government for UAE
ECONOMIC GROWTH ACTIVITIES – NON-OIL BASED, AND OIL BASED
HOW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS TRANSFORMING DUBAI
As per World Economic Forum (WEF), from their Report on UAE, dated 16-May-2017
The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is no exception when it comes to challenges posed by urbanization. The urban challenges in MENA region are also significant opportunities for the cities.
WEF identified following Challenges and Goals:
1. Fast Growing
2. Tech Transformation
3. Happiness Goal
4. Towards 2021
The aim is to be a successful smart city by harnessing digital innovation in all endeavours. To this end, the five-year strategy, Smart Dubai 2021, was recently launched.
5. Smart Happiness
6. Unique Opportunity
• A smart, liveable and resilient digital city
• Connected, lean government
• A globally competitive economy powered by disruptive technologies
• An interconnected society with easily accessible social services
• Smooth transport provided by autonomous and shared mobility solutions
• A clean environment via cutting-edge Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) Innovations
7. Smart and Resilient
8. Making Connections
9. Climate Change
10. Global Competitiveness
11. Digital Literacy
12. Autonomous Transport
13. Smart Mobility
14. ICT and the Environment
15. Digital Government
As the Way Forward, the ambitious Smart Dubai 2021 strategy will be implemented by various city entities, both public and private, in alignment with the Smart Dubai Office (SDO).
The UAE aims to achieve a sustainable infrastructure for generating power through renewable energy. The UAE is the first Gulf country to start on the new clean energy strategy. The country is looking to increase its target for power generation from clean energy to 30 percent by 2030. The government has committed to produce at least 7 percent of total power generation from renewable sources by 2020.
Clean Energy-mix in the UAE
1. Nuclear Energy
2. Solar Energy
• Shams 1 in Abu Dhabi
• Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project
• Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park
• The Clean Coal Project
3. Wind Energy
• In Abu Dhabi
• In Dubai
• In Sharjah
• In Ras Al Khaimah
ECOTOURISM AND SUSTAINABILITY
As one of the world's favourite destinations, the UAE features some of the most stunning landscapes and beautiful natural attractions in the region, and is dedicated to developing low-impact, eco-friendly tourism across the country, so visitors can take in the natural majesty that stretches across the country while leaving the landscape pristine and untouched.
UAE is also keenly aware that ecotourism helps drive conservation efforts, protecting wildlife for generations to come. That is why visitors will love the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The reserve covers nearly five per cent of Dubai's land and is home to over 6,000 indigenous trees, grasses and flora, as well as herds of Oryx and other wildlife.
‘Al Batinah' Island represents the UAE's commitment to environmental sustainability and biodiversity. The island is the home of many life forms such as coral reefs, sea cows, natural mangrove and hawksbill turtles, dolphins, Osprey, and Socotra cormorant.
The United Arab Emirates signed a deal with India on 25-Jan-2017 that allows the Gulf OPEC country to fill half of an underground crude oil storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka. The deal is part of New Delhi's strategic petroleum reserve system, an emergency underground storage of 36.87 million barrels of crude oil which can supply about 10 days of the country's average daily oil demand. UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) will store about 6 million barrels of oil at Mangalore, taking up about half of the site's capacity.
This is the second agreement signed between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited and ADNOC in the area of storage and management of oil at strategic facilities in India. Crude oil supplies from ADNOC will begin in the last quarter of 2017. Three years ago, India began talks to lease part of its strategic storage to ADNOC. Under those discussions in 2014, India was to have first rights to the stored crude oil in case of an emergency.
Reserves are those quantities of petroleum which are anticipated to be commercially recovered from known accumulations from a given date forward.
STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE PETROLEUM/OIL RESERVES IN PRESENT OIL PRICE MARKET
Primarily, 3 main variables go into enhancing Petroleum Reserves: (I) Cost of Production, (II) Increase in Reservoir Volume, and (III) the Oil Prices. Oil prices are uncertain, dependant on several variables. Efforts can be directed towards the other 2 variables.
(I) COST OPTIMIZATION VIA LEAN CASING STRING POLICY SELECTION
The available sub-surface data may be scrutinized diligently, ab-initio, and wherever possible, the numbers of casing strings may be reduced. E.g. A leading operator in USA was successfully able to eliminate intermediate casing string on a pilot well, using variety of technology options, among them switching to Oil Based Mud (OBM). Thus they saved on casing and service costs, and reduced rig time. A 3-well pilot by the operator in July-2015, resulting in estimated savings of $114,000. This is significant achievement.
INCREASE IN RESERVOIR VOLUME VIA DILIGENT RESERVOIR MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Accelerations in geophysics, geology, petro physics, production, reservoir engineering, with the explosion in computing power, has made it possible to develop integrated life-cycle database management systems. This has resulted in (i) exploiting yet unrecovered hydrocarbons, (ii) new opportunities for enhancing economic recovery of hydrocarbons.
POSITIVE ASSESSMENT CONCLUSIONS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MONEARY FUND In their Report dated 14-July-2017, Press Release No. 17/283, from the International Monetary Fund, titled “IMF Executive Board Concludes 2017 Article IV Consultation with the United Arab Emirates”, diligently assessed conclusions were conveyed, titled “Executive Board Assessment”, as follows: • The economy is weathering the post-2014 oil shock well
• The key policy goal is to foster economic adjustment to the new oil market realities
• To foster the adjustment, especially given the downside risks, the momentum in fiscal reforms needs to be sustained and coordinated with structural reforms
• To ensure credibility, fiscal adjustment should be accompanied by strengthening the medium-term policy framework and improving transparency
• Ongoing initiatives to upgrade the supervisory and regulatory framework for the financial sector are welcome and need to continue
• Focused, multi-pronged initiatives to raise productivity and diversify the economy would improve medium-term economic prospects
• Amid ongoing economic adjustment, continued improvements in statistics are critical for enhancing policy analysis and decision-making
These conclusions confirm the positive initiatives and actions from the UAE, towards meeting the Objectives of Economic Growth, along with Sustainable Development.
1. Climate changes over last several hundreds of years, have necessitated the need for Sustainable Development, in all forms, from all nations of the world.
2. Sustainable Development, for Citizens, Communities, and Nations, is a Technological Challenge of high order. The challenges are to be met, in step-by-step manner, diligently using technological and other means at disposal.
3. UAE has successfully met the globally set and agreed goals, and even exceeded in some areas, towards meeting the objectives for Sustainable Development.
4. In terms of non-oil based economic growth activities, tangible and positive progress has been made in meeting internal energy requirements from the Renewable Energy sources.
5. For oil-based economic growth activities, ample potential exists to enhance the petroleum reserves from current levels, to significantly higher levels, and at lower costs.
6. Positive assessments have been received from the latest report from the International Monetary Fund, for initiatives and activities being carried out from the UAE, both for Economic Growth, and Sustainable Development. Overall picture conveyed is highly positive, and UAE has been encouraged to continue on same path and direction towards meeting the objectives.