A local energy expert says that demand for natural gas has grown due to growing industrial and power sectors and domestic demand will continue to rise. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The demand for natural gas in the UAE is growing about 7 per cent a year and is expected to touch 15 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day by 2020 due to the growing industrial and power sectors, a local energy expert said here yesterday.

"The domestic demand is expected to touch 7.5 bcf per day by the end of 2010," Khalid Malallah Al Awadi told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

"There's currently gas supply of about 6.9 bcf per day in the UAE, which includes imports.

"In the near future, the supply is likely to go up to about 8 bcf per day," Al Awadi added.

He said at present there is some shortage in the summer months, which is covered by other fuels, oil and coal.

Al Awadi, however, said there is abundant pipeline capacity in the country to handle new supplies in the near term.

"The pipeline capacity exceeds 11 bcf per day. As far as capacity is concerned, we are safe for the next 10 years," he added.

More imports

"Now we need to increase the supply of gas in the pipelines. The supply will increase through more imports and new capacity being developed in Abu Dhabi and also possibly from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah," said Al Awadi.

He also said confirmed supplies to the gas grid can be raised through increased supplies from Qatar via Dolphin Energy's three-nation pipeline that connects Qatar with the UAE and Oman and starting new gas imports from Iran, which have not yet begun.

Nuclear plants

Al Awadi said previously that by 2020, nearly 50 per cent of the power plants in the country will be gas-fired, and 30 per cent of electricity generation will be by nuclear power.

About 15 per cent of the electricity will be generated using coal and liquid fuels as feedstock.

The remaining 5 per cent will be generated by wind farms and by solar energy, he said.