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Industry transformation ahead as 4.0 takes hold

Sep 24, 2019
3 min read
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A far reaching transformation is set to fundamentally alter the oil industry across the UAE, according to His Excellency Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry.

The minister is set to take part in the formal opening ceremony for ADIPEC 2019, and is due to set the stage for informed debate on the prospects ahead for the oil and gas industry as the world energy mix evolves.

A key to this transformation is the fourth industrial revolution which, H.E. Al Mazrouei said, will result in a focus on redeploying and giving extra training to the workforce in order to make the most of the opportunities of digitalisation, in order to improve efficiency, lower production costs and enhance the safety of the workforce.

He added that the increase in the use of technology will not result in large scale job losses among professionals across the industry as the upcoming greater use of smart technologies will require an equally agile and technologically aware workforce.

“I do not think that the fourth industrial revolution is going to lessen dependence on professionals,” he said. “The focus will be on retraining, reskilling and redeploying the workforce as robots will be taking over many of the tasks while enhancing productivity and safety.

“The UAE is interconnected to the rest of the world, which is undergoing this transformation. We are also investing heavily in preparing for this transition.”

H.E. Al Mazrouei said the UAE is taking a lead in the growing evolution benefiting from the vision of its leadership and its national companies, which have been able to take a prominent place in global value chains.

He said the country seeks to add value to the global industrial sector by dedicating the industry’s commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that all countries in the world have the opportunity to build a comprehensive and sustainable industrial sector based on a global partnership.

Looking further ahead, H.E. Al Mazrouei said that the UAE’s energy strategy for 2050 is for the country to have an equal split between fossil fuels and renewable energies. He explained that solar power will make up 44 per cent of the country’s installed capacity for electricity, which will enable the production of 44 gigawatts of power in just over 30 years’ time.

He added this will still ensure the profitability of energy companies. “The price of generation should be competitive enough for utility companies to make money,” said H.E. Al Mazrouei.

“We want to drive the region away from a subsidised system in energy to an unsubsidised model like that in the West. Without that, we will be in a hole that will be deeper and deeper with the increase in population.”

He explained that more economically viable natural gas power plants are a good investment and connecting the UAE’s power grids to other countries in the region, such as Jordan and Iraq, would be of great benefit.

Regarding the current market, the Minister said the UAE will continue to support actions to balance the oil market and is confident its OPEC and non-OPEC partners will take similar measures after member and non-member countries, including Russia, agreed in July to extend their supply cuts until March 2020 to stabilise the market.

H.E. Al Mazrouei described the market as good, saying that the overhang in commercial stock continues to decrease and demand remains in a healthy state. “I am confident that OPEC+ will continue its strong compliance with agreed production levels,” he added.

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