Tag Archive | "North Africa"

Fracking on the rise

The shale gas boom in the US is raising questions all over the world. Will this new alternative cost the Earth more than what we have already lost? Lorraine Bangera looks into the pros and cons of the unconventional gas, which is making its way into the MENA region

Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure to fracture fine grained sedimentary shale rocks and release natural gas.
This method of extracting gas was first applied in the late 1940s by Amoco (now part of BP) in the Hugoton field in Kansas, United States.
As the cost of oil and gas has increased and technology has improved, the relative cost of obtaining gas in this way has become more attractive to corporations.

Today’s methods uses a pumped fluid, which includes water, mixed with a small proportion of sand and chemicals. The fracking fluid is then pressure injected through a drilled pipeline where the high pressure causes the underground shale rocks to crack, and release shale gas which flows into the well.
The rise of the shale gas production in the United States – a country determined to become self-sufficient for its energy needs – have been a subject of discussion throughout the world giving rise to concerns over the side effects.
France banned shale gas production and in the UK, an earth tremor in the northern seaside town of Blackpool two years ago was alleged to hve been caused by fracking (since blamed on ground levels rising following the Ice Age).
The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects United States may be the world’s top oil producer by 2020, because of the overwhelming rate at which unconventional gas and oil is being extracted.
So, while fracking can solve many short-term energy problems, the question remains, how safe is it really?
Critics say the process can cause methane gas leaks and toxic chemicals that may damage to the surrounding groundwater present in the area. The wastes derived from the process could release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere and may contribute to contaminated air, acid rain and ground level ozone. Another concern environmental agencies have voiced is the increased risk of earthquakes and tremors.
Other critics of hydraulic fracking point to water pollution problems it could cause and Cornell University issued a report saying hydraulic fracking could be potentially worse for climate change than coal.

Side effects on the GCC

The boom in shale gas production in the USA, ironically the world’s largest importer of oil, could affect the GCC. The report, What Is The Significance Of The Shale Phenomenon For Gulf Oil And Gas Producers? points out that the shale boom could impact the oil price in a long-term extreme scenario. According to it, as shale gas supplies increase substantially in the US, its exports could compete with GCC oil exports.
Karim Nassif, Standard & Poor’s credit analyst, said: “We consider there to be limited effect on rated GCC oil producers at present. The more immediate effects of US shale production, in our view, centres on GCC-based natural gas producers.”

This may mean a shift in target markets, diverting Gulf oil and gas exports, originally destined for the US, to Asia and the Far East. However, GCC-based oil and gas producers realise that more practical and strategic plans are needed over the longer term.

Increasing demand for energy

The growing need for energy sources, is not only focussed in the West. In the Middle East, though bestowed with a wealth of oil, it is also looking for alternatives like unconventional gas to avoid future energy crisis. In the MENA region, countries showing a substantial interest in hydraulic fracking include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordon, Algeria and Tunisia.

Oman has made serious efforts in developing one of the most ambitious ‘tight drilling’ projects in the world. Fracking projects in Khazzan and Makarem field are expected produce at least one billion standard cubic feet of gas a day by 2017. The projects are handled by BP which has invested $24 billion into the first phase of the project, which is expected to increase the national production of oil and gas by a third.

It is the first shale gas project in the region and it too has caused critics of the fracking process to express concern over the potential environmental and community impacts.

BP has sought to reassure environmentalists through its report ‘Unconventional Gas and Hydraulic Fracking’ issue briefing, promising that the project will have properly engineered and constructed facilities that are designed, operated and decommissioned to mitigate the risk of natural gas and hydraulic fracturing fluids entering underground aquifers, including drinking water sources.

Saudi Arabia is also exploring its shale gas resources, estimated at 600 trillion cubic feet. The world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, will be taking the lead in establishing the project. President of Saudi Aramco, Khalid Al Falih spoke about the project at this year’s World Energy Congress in South Korea, calling it the world’s “colossal endowment” of fossil fuels. He said the main challenge when it comes to providing energy for a growing world population is improving end-use efficiency.

It is clear fracking is here to stay and will form an important part of many countries future energy needs.

The environmental concerns are real but the question remains whether the reassurances from the big producers over safety procedures are adhered too and whether the surge in hydraulic fracking can be balanced in the longer term with protection of the areas in which work takes place.


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Exhibitors sign-up for World Future Energy Summit 2014

The world’s leading innovators in clean energy are signing up to exhibit at the 7th World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar, January 20-22 next year as a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Organiser of WFES 2014, Reed Exhibitions, has announced that 90% of exhibition space has already been sold for next year’s event, with strong interest in the new Sustainable Living Area that will provide energy and water -efficient solutions for urban living, including a full-size eco-home, eco-transport models, and a fully-functioning hotel room sponsored by Rotana Hotels, and designed and built by Genesis Manazil.

WFES’s show director, Naji El Haddad said: “Investment in renewable energy, particularly within the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, is growing as more and more governments and private partners commit to large-scale clean energy projects.

“Indeed, the recent WFES insight report into solar energy development in MENA shows the huge potential for developing a large solar industry in the region due to its natural advantages of abundant sunshine and a strong power grid and road network. More importantly, the industry is strongly supported by governments that are committed to the development of clean energy sources to reduce their domestic reliance on fossil fuels.”

Already renowned for showcasing the latest in clean energy technologies, WFES 2014 will once again be the international event that the sustainability industry looks to for new innovations, with exciting new exhibits planned and many exhibitors confirming they will launch breakthrough products.

Next year’s seventh edition of the World Future Energy Summit will be co-located with the second edition of the International Water Summit and the inaugural EcoWASTE exhibition, also hosted by Masdar, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and is the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week from 19-22 January 2014.


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Expo 2020 – Day of the Vote

Today marks the day of the vote for World Expo 2020, and all fingers in the UAE are crossed to win the bid.
The first expo, The Great Exhibition, was held in London in 1851, to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological wonders.
World Expos are now an ideal meeting point for the global communities to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population.

The expos are held every five years, attracting millions of visitors to visit pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organisations and businesses.

Dubai’s bid for Expo 2020

“Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”

If Dubai wins the bid, it will be the first city to host the expo in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. Dubai Expo 2020 will be a platform for connectivity to help pioneer new partnerships for growth and sustainability for the future.
The site for World Expo 2020 Dubai will be Dubai Trade Centre – Jebel Ali: a 438 hectare site located next to the new Al Maktoum International Airport.
Dubai has a long history of being a trade hub and pioneering new ideas. It would provide a unique platform for the global community to come together and explore creative solutions to the three subthemes which have been identified as key drivers of global development:
Sustainability - lasting sources of energy and water
Mobility - smart systems of logistics and transportation
Opportunity - new paths to economic development

The focus will be on exploring their interdependencies and identifying potential partnerships, ultimately resulting in a legacy of innovation.


Posted in Construction, Energy and water, Environmental, Green business, NewsComments (0)

Ranking supports Dubai’s bid for EXPO 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been ranked first for the quality of infrastructure according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014.
Also, Dubai is first in the region for the second time according to a study conducted on infrastructure by Mercer Consultants because of its state-of-the-art  infrastructure topped by electricity grids and water networks. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), representing the UAE, made a new global achievement when it was ranked in the fourth place at the global level and the first place in the Middle East and North of Africa region in ease of getting electricity according to the Doing Business Report 2014 published recently by World Bank.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said: “DEWA has a surplus of electricity and water production capacity at present. This capacity is being enhanced in accordance to the public demand and relevant transmission and distribution grids. DEWA can provide electricity and water services to the Exhibition in addition to the expected growth and the requirements of developers in Dubai. DEWA also emphasises its full capability to meet all the requirements of the exhibition at all times and at the highest global levels of efficiency, reliability and availability.

“DEWA will also collaborate with all the competent authorities to meet all the requirements for the success of this high-profile global event and to promote Dubai’s well-deserved global position.

“We spare no efforts to achieve Dubai’s goals of development and support preparations for hosting EXPO 2020. In coming days, we will develop some strategic plans to support preparations for hosting this high-profile event and to achieve the theme of EXPO bid ‘Connecting Minds … Creating The Future’ to promote sustainability, creativity and innovation of all the participants of this global event.”

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Bridgestone launches its TSES station in Abu Dhabi

The second Bridgestone’s Tyre Safety and Eco Station (TSES) road show was at Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda Mall on November 21. The company opened its multi-purpose station, TSES station, at the event. Bridgestone will also run its education and awareness campaign on tyre safety till November 23.

The TSES campaign educates motorists across the GCC and North Africa, and is conducted in partnership with Al Masaood, Bridgestone’s sole distributor in Abu Dhabi.

Shoichi Sakuma, President of Bridgestone Middle East & Africa, said: “Educating people about tyre safety and helping them develop the habit of regularly checking their tyres will have a great impact on decreasing road accidents, and making roads a safer place.”

The Bridgestone TSES station has a special demonstration corner where Bridgestone staff educates visitors with steps to enhance safety while driving on roads. Drivers are shown how to check the proper tyre air pressure and tread wear to avoid the dangers of driving with underinflated or overinflated and worn-out or damaged tyres.


Posted in Eco-leisure, NewsComments (0)

Passavant-Roediger consortium wins a deal in Egypt

A consortium of Passavant-Roediger GmbH and Hassan Allam Sons has won an AED 545 million contract to expand the Gabal Al Asfar Waste Water Treatment Plant (GAAWWTP) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. The new deal affirms Passavant’s growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and will sustain its momentum in the area.

Under the terms of the agreement awarded by the Construction Authority for Potable Water and Waste Water, the Hassan Allam led consortium will build a primary and secondary wastewater plant with the volume of 500,000 cubic meter of wastewater per day to raise the total daily treatment capacity at the site up to 2.5 million cubic metres. The project is expected to be completed in four years, and the consortium will oversee the operation and maintenance of the plant two years post completion.

Dr Mazen Bachir, Managing Director, Passavant-Roediger, said: “Our consortium was awarded the bid based on the strength of our wastewater treatment technology, including anaerobic sludge digestion, which give us clear framework and strong resources to undertake a project of this stature.

The new GAAWWTP will benefit 8 million people living in the region, improve the quality of drainage water, and reduce pollution. Egypt is an important market for our expansion plans in the MENA region and we hope to leverage DSI’s reputation and our own global experience to deliver high quality water treatment solutions to the people of Egypt as well as the MENA region.”


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