Saudis Lead Gulf Movement To Diversify Away From Oil

With the Saudi Aramco initial public offering set to debut on international markets in 2018, the oil world is watching closely as the OPEC leader transforms its economy under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan. But the KSA isn’t the only Gulf nation gearing up for a radical change in its energy formula.

The United Arab Emirates is setting its sights on nuclear power to ensure the small nation can meet demand in the coming years, energy minister Suhail Al Mazroui told reporters this week.

The Middle East’s first nuclear power plant should go live in the UAE in 2018, as the nation prepares to host an international ministerial summit on the power source at the end of next month. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in the UAE signifies global “recognition” of the country’s “successful efforts” in developing a peaceful nuclear power program, Al Mazroui said. The main components of the Barakah 1 reactor completed construction back in May, but operating Nawah Energy Company is still waiting on final licensing approvals from regulators before operating commercials. Basically, they just need to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

By the time the remaining three units of the Barakah complex is complete, a full quarter of the UAE’s electricity will be derived from the plant.   Related: Is It Time For OPEC To Turn The Taps Back On?

Currently, natural gas powers roughly all of the UAE’s energy needs. The UAE Energy Plan 2050 will lower the contribution of gas to 38 percent, while that of clean fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy will be raised to 12 percent, 6 percent and 44 percent, respectively, by 2050. Technical assistance from Iran and France and financial investments from Gulf partners allowed the project to come to fruition, according to The Daily Caller.

France is a known international leader in nuclear energy because the country meets three-fourths of its energy demand with the power…

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