Investment in renewables consistent with UAE energy strategy: Mubadala CEO

Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak, group CEO and managing director of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.
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Updated 13 February 2020

Investment in renewables consistent with UAE energy strategy: Mubadala CEO

  • Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak discussed company’s investment philosophy at Abu Dhabi forum
  • Investments significantly increased in medical tech and life sciences in addition to renewables

ABU DHABI: Mubadala’s early investment in renewables was a contradiction given the UAE’s major role in the global oil industry, but it was consistent with the country’s energy-sector strategy.

Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak, group CEO and managing director of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, made this observation during Tuesday’s opening session of the Milken Institute’s 2020 Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Since its establishment, Mubadala had been envisioned as a model investment institution and the ideal example of a responsible investor, he said.

“Many thought (the investment in renewable energy) was a strange decision then, but it was a very consistent strategy of the UAE government,” he said.

Further proof of the UAE’s commitment to renewable energy and its development, according to Al-Mubarak, came when it ratified in 2009 an agreement to host the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

IRENA, whose membership includes 160 states and the EU, is an intergovernmental organization that facilitates cooperation and promotes the use of renewable energy.

“The UAE has over 80 percent of the solar capacity of the entire GCC, and we have invested in renewable energy in 25 countries,” Al-Mubarak said, adding that “we have done it profitably and responsibly.”

Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak, group CEO and managing director of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company. (Milken Institute)

And Al-Mubarak said the UAE’s first nuclear-power plant was ready for launch any time soon.

“We are ready in the (coming) weeks to fuel the first unit of Barakah, one of the UAE’s most complicated infrastructure projects and the fastest nuclear development,” he said.

The Barakah plant will add 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to the national grid, or about 25 percent of the UAE’s total requirements, when fully operational.

Building the Barakah plant was a long-term sustainability decision, taken at a time when countries were moving away from nuclear energy, Al-Mubarak said.

The UAE intends to spend about AED 600 billion (SR612.66 billion) by 2050 to meet its clean energy needs.

Aside from renewables, Mubadala has significantly increased its investments in medical technology and life sciences, Al-Mubarak said.

“It is clearly happening in Europe, in China. We are investing in a space that is possible, in solving global problems,” he said.

One of these investments, Mubarak said, is the new oncology center at Abu Dhabi’s Cleveland Clinic, which will be operational in 12 to 18 months and would address the rising cancer rates in the UAE.

“There are 5,000 cancer new cases every year, he said.

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

Updated 06 June 2020

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

  • The meeting, originally scheduled for next week, was brought forward to Saturday

VIENNA: OPEC and allied nations agreed on Saturday to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to boost energy prices hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers of the group and outside nations like Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting out the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic. It represents some 10% of the world's overall supply.
However, danger still lurks for the market. Algerian Oil Minister Mohamed Arkab, the current OPEC president, warned attendees that the global oil inventory would soar to 1.5 billion barrels by the mid-point of this year.
“Despite the progress to date, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels,” Arkab said. “The challenges we face remain daunting.”
That was a message echoed by Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Abdul Aziz bin Salman, who acknowledged “we all have made sacrifices to make it where we are today.” He said he remained shocked by the day in April when US oil futures plunged below zero.

“There are encouraging signs we are over the worst,” he said.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak similarly called April “the worst month in history” for the global oil market.
The decision came in a unanimous vote, Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei of the United Arab Emirates wrote on Twitter. He called it “a courageous decision and a collective effort deserving praise from all participating producing countries.”
OPEC has 13 member states, including Saudi Arabia. The additional countries part of the plus-accord have been led by Russia, with Mexico under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador playing a considerable role at the last minute in the initial agreement.
Crude oil prices have been gaining in recent days, in part on hopes OPEC would continue the cut. International benchmark Brent crude traded Saturday at over $42 a barrel. Brent had crashed below $20 a barrel in April.
The oil market was already oversupplied when Russia and OPEC failed to agree on output cuts in early March. Analysts say Russia refused to back even a moderate cut because it would have only served to help US energy companies that were pumping at full capacity. Stalling would hurt American shale-oil producers and protect market share.
Prices collapsed as the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes largely halted global travel. That also hurt US shale production, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump. But Trump welcomed the earlier deal, as US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette did on Saturday with the extension.
“I applaud OPEC-plus for reaching an important agreement today which comes at a pivotal time as oil demand continues to recover and economies reopen around the world,” Brouillette wrote on Twitter.
Under a deal reached in April, OPEC and allied countries were to cut nearly 10 million barrels per day until July, then 8 million barrels per day through the end of the year, and 6 million a day for 16 months beginning in 2021.
However, some countries produced beyond their quotas set by the deal. One of them was Iraq, which remains decimated after the yearslong war against the Islamic State group.
On Saturday, Iraq Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said in statement that Baghdad had “renewed its full commitment” to the OPEC+ deal.
“Despite the economic and financial circumstances that Iraq is facing, the country remains committed to the agreement," Jihad said.
Analysts had expected OPEC and the other nations to extend the cuts of 10 million barrels per day by one more month, but not longer, since the level of demand is still fluctuating.
“If the demand is great, countries like Russia will want to produce more oil, so they probably won’t want to get locked into a longer-term deal that may not help them,” said Jacques Rousseau, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners.