Natural resources, energy and environment
Oil is the most important natural resource,
but natural gas is also extracted to a great extent. Abu
Dhabi has over 90 percent of the country's oil reserves
and accounts for an equal share of oil production. The
rest of the oil is mainly in Dubai with a small share in
The four emirates that have the most oil are
responsible for their own energy production, which
almost entirely takes place in oil or gas-fired power
Major exports by United Arab Emirates with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The United Arab Emirates is about to become the first
country in the Arab world to produce nuclear power.
After several years of delay, the first of four planned
nuclear reactors received a license to be commissioned
in February 2020, although the start date was not
specified. The other three reactors are under
construction. When all four reactors are put into
operation, the power plant is estimated to cover a
quarter of the emirate's electricity needs. The facility
is located near the Saudi border and closer to Qatar's
capital than the emirate's own, Abu Dhabi. But it is
above all the proximity to Iran, on the other side of
the Persian Gulf, and the often frosty relations between
the countries that are seen as a risk factor (see
There are also major investments in renewable energy;
the world's largest solar power plant was inaugurated in
Abu Dhabi in 2013 and Masdar City, a city completely
free of carbon dioxide emissions, is being built.
In the summer of 2012, a new oil pipeline was opened
from the western part of the country to the port city of
Fujayra in the east. As a result, oil from fields in the
west no longer needed to be transported by boat through
the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which Iran sometimes
threatened to block (see also Foreign Policy and
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, AE stands for United Arab Emirates.
The emirate also has deposits of copper, magnesium
and manganese, but the only extraction that takes place
is marble and sand.
In 2018, the emirate passed a federal law on waste
management, which sets, among other things, the goals
that waste volumes should be reduced and recycling and
composting encouraged. According to Gulf News, each
emirate generates up to 1.3 kilos of waste per day and
more than three-quarters end up in landfills. One
consequence of the new law is that for the first time,
public systems for waste collection will be introduced
with transport to prescribed facilities within the
state. Penalties have been imposed for littering.
In several of the emirates there are plants that
generate environmentally hazardous emissions, including
cement factories, chemical plants and manure production.
There are oil spills that damage fishing and bird and
outdoor life along the beaches. Many of the emissions
from tankers are assumed to be intentional when ship
crews empty ballast tanks, and the sources are difficult
to detect due to dense vessel traffic and ocean
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
7,756 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
11245 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
211 370 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
23.3 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
0.1 percent (2015)
Criticism against the government is prohibited
Following protests in neighboring Bahrain, a law banning criticism of the
country's government, or attempts to organize popular protests, is introduced
via the internet and social media.
Military cooperation with the United Kingdom
In connection with British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to the United
Arab Emirates, the countries are announcing that they will start military
New onshore oil pipeline
The United Arab Emirates is starting to use a new oil pipeline that runs
across the country and thus gets a new channel for its oil exports. The aim is
to avoid running the oil with ships through the Hormuz Strait, which Iran has
repeatedly threatened to shut down.
House arrest for a member of the governing family
A member of the ruling family of the emirate Ras al-Khayma is being arrested
after calling for greater political transparency.
Democratic activist is forced into exile
One of the democracy activists pardoned by President Khalifa in November
2011, Ahmad Abd al-Khaliq, is arrested again. Khaliq, who belongs to a group of
stateless Arabs (bidun), is forced to go into exile in Thailand. Khaliq is known
for running a website in support of stateless guest workers in the states around
the Persian Gulf.
The ambassador to Iran is recalled
The United Arab Emirates retrieves its ambassador to Tehran after Iran's
president visits Abu Musa, an island in the Persian Gulf that both countries