By Rebecca Bundhun
Sheikh Khalifa says oil-producing nations must prepare for future demand despite financial crisis.
The UAE is still going ahead with plans to upgrade its oil industry in preparation for future rising demand despite the global financial crisis, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in comments published on Tuesday.
“Oil-producing and exporting countries are already suffering the consequences of that crisis” due to the downturn in oil prices, Sheikh Khalifa told London-based Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat in an interview carried by state news agency WAM.
Crude oil prices have tumbled more than $100 per barrel from a July peak of $147 per barrel, as demand has plummeted amid the global economic crisis. In turn this has prompted deep production cuts from oil cartel OPEC.
However, the president said “we need to realise that this crisis is temporary and that the producing countries must prepare for a time when the demand will rise in the future”.
“Therefore, we in the UAE are pressing ahead with the plans to upgrade our oil industry and to increase capacity for production of crude, gas and petrochemicals in conjunction with our project finance capabilities,” he said.
Discussing his views on the Iranian nuclear programme, the president stressed the UAE was strongly opposed to any military conflict in the region.
He said the UAE’s own nuclear programme was purely motivated by future demand for energy, which would continue to rise as the country develops in various sectors, creating the need for more power.
“We re-affirm our position that all countries, including Iran, are entitled to acquire a peaceful nuclear technology,” Sheikh Khalifa said.
He also expressed his hope that president-elect Barack Obama would play a proactive role in achieving peace in the Middle East.