The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced the discovery of a natural gas field containing 80 trillion standard cubic feet of gas between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Authorities said the new Jebel Ali field would help the Emirates become more energy independent, as the UAE now imports natural gas from Qatar for electricity.
Leaders of Abu Dhabi and Dubai witnessed the signing of an agreement between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Dubai Supply Authority for the exploration and development of the gas resources.
“This new discovery reinforces the nation’s goal of achieving gas self-sufficiency, enabling major development projects,” ADNOC said in a statement.
Qatar has continued to supply its Gulf neighbour with gas via the Dolphin pipeline, despite being blockaded by the UAE and three other Arab nations over a years-long political dispute.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Doha, accusing it of “supporting terrorism”.
Qatar has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegation.
The agreement with Qatar “reinforces ADNOC’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable and economic gas supply and achieving gas self-sufficiency”, said the firm’s CEO, Sultan al-Jaber.
ADNOC and the Dubai Supply Authority will explore and develop the shallow gas field, which spans some 5,000 square kilometres (1,930 square miles), ADNOC said.
Monday’s statements gave no details on the timeframe for the new gas resources to come on stream or the estimated cost of the projects.
Shallow gas resources are reserves found trapped not too deep from the surface but they need advanced technology for production.
Qatar is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer.
It produces and supplies the globe with 42 million metric tonnes of LNG annually. Most of this gas is pumped from the North Field, which is part of the world’s largest gas field that is shared between Qatar and Iran.