In an extensive article in Business 24/7 entitled, Fujairah primed to become regional energy export hub Nassar Hoath declares (20 December 2007) that, “Fujairah is set to become one of the largest energy export hubs in the region.”
Hoath bases this statement on these major developments:
* The fuel supplies set to flow from Abu Dhabi through the Habshan-Fujairah 360km-long, 48-inch-diameter pipeline (to be ready in 12 months).
* The crude oil export terminal which is being built to export the oil received via the pipeline.
* The new Taweelah-Fujairah gas pipeline supplying the emirate with Qatari gas.
* The building of an export terminal for the gas supplied from Taweelah.
* Expanded and new refineries.
* Expanded bunkering capacities.
* Expanded tanker-berthing facilities.
* Anticipated success from the current survey of Fujairah off-shore areas in search of new gas and oil sites.
Location, Location, Location
Fujairah is increasingly been viewed as situated in a strategic location outside the Strait of Hormuz. The new oil pipeline will circumvent the congested Strait and such lines take on a greater importance when the region is jittery about international reaction to Iran’s nuclear developments.
Scale of Fujairah’s Growth
“The crude pipeline, in addition to the emirate’s own oil exploration surveys and the fast-growing shipping industry, will completely change the face of Fujairah,” said Fujairah businessman Musa Barakat. “It will bring the emirate on par with emirates such as Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There will be an economic and commercial boom very soon.” Business 24/7 said: “Economists and analysts also see Fujairah’s economy benefiting from its emergence as an energy export hub, not only for the UAE but also for the entire region.”
Skilful Balancing Needed
The anticipated growth in Fujairah’s bunkering, refinery and export terminals looks likely to bring a welcome injection of dirhams to the city and region. However, Fujairah’s tourism industry has stated goals to increasingly showcase the region’s beautiful beaches, mountains and environmental treasures. No matter how hard one tries, the ports and related industries in any city do little to enhance the beauty of the environs and attract tourists. Already one major tourist guidebook has described the port as a blot on Fujairah landscape and has encouraged its readers to give the city a miss and head to the beaches further north.
The growth of the port and petrochemical industries in Fujairah must be done skilfully so as to avoid spoiling the natural environment and jeopardizing the growing tourist industry.
Dr. Geoff Pound
Image: A falcon’s eye view of Fujairah with the port north of the city. Click to magnify.