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Mon 25 Jan 2010 11:45 AM

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UAE energy chief says current oil price 'good' for expansion

Minister says price level will enable projects to grow, production capacity to increase.

The UAE's energy minister has said that the current oil price is "good" for plans to expand projects and build up capacity.

In an interview with TV's Dubai Tonight on Dubai One, Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, said it was important for the country to increase capacity to meet future surges in demand.

Asked about the current oil price level, Al Hamli said: "The price level at the moment is good and I think we need this level of prices to continue with our projects, to continue expanding and building up capacity.

"I think it's very important to build production capacity in oil in order to bring comfort and to bring assurances to the consuming nations that we have spare capacity. When demand surges, we can supply extra oil." On the subject of the UAE's clean energy plans, he added: "The UAE, of course, is a hydrocarbon state. We are rich in fossil fuels, we have a lot of hydrocarbons, a lot of oil and gas...we are very much like the rest of the world trying to diversify our source of energy. The fact that we are now moving into nuclear and renewables is really to bringing balanced portfolio to our source of energy."

He said he had "very high expectations" of the $22bn Masdar City project, the first phase of which is due to be delivered in 2013.

"We're all proud of what Masdar is doing and I think they have set big challenges for themselves. Now it's a question of really watching how they progress," he added in the interview which was broadcast on Sunday night.

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