UAE, France sign energy deal as Europe prepares to end Russian dependency

Sheikh Mohamed says the Emirates is committed to energy security for all



UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is received by France's President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 18, 2022. Photo: AFP
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is received by France's President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 18, 2022. Photo: AFP

By Agencies

Published: Mon 18 Jul 2022, 10:42 PM

The UAE and France on Monday signed an agreement on energy cooperation to ensure oil and natural gas supplies from the Gulf country as Europe prepares for the possibility of a total gas cutoff from Russia in retaliation for sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

The deal announced by the French Economy Ministry comes as President Emmanuel Macron hosted the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Paris.

Sheikh Mohamed said collaboration across energy of all kinds is critical, noting that the UAE is committed to supporting energy security for all people.

“The agreement we are signing with the United Arab Emirates is of double strategic importance: it allows us to address the pressing challenges of energy security in the short term, while preparing for a de-carbonized future,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a statement.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan (L) and French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna. Photo: AFP
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan (L) and French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna. Photo: AFP

Other trade and energy agreements are expected to be signed during Sheikh Mohamed’s first state visit to France since he was appointed president in May. They include an agreement between the French energy giant TotalEnergies and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to ensure energy supply, the economy ministry said.

The two leaders discussed opportunities for collaborating and expanding their longstanding partnership. Sheikh Mohamed congratulated President Macron on his country’s National Day, wishing France further progress and prosperity.

Photto: WAM
Photto: WAM

The leaders reviewed new agreements that expand decades of partnership and collaboration between the UAE and France across investment, the economy, cultural exchange, scientific innovation, advanced technology, future energy, food security, and climate change.

They expressed their commitment to favouring de-escalation, peaceful co-existence and relationship building as a way of working towards resolving global challenges. The UAE President discussed the important role that France has undertaken in the Middle East, noting his interest in continuing to work together with France to promote peace, stability, and security for all in the region.

Sheikh Mohamed reiterated the common interest that the UAE and France share in confronting climate change, including the opportunity to move forward with clear action at COP28, which will be hosted in the UAE in 2023.

President Macron awarded Sheikh Mohamed the “Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour”, the highest French national order, in appreciation of his role in strengthening friendship and cooperation relations between the UAE and France at various levels. In return, Sheikh Mohamed granted President Macron the “Order of Zayed”, the highest civilian honour in the UAE awarded to presidents and kings who have played prominent roles in serving the two countries’ relations and prosperity.

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Le Maire said last month that the country has been in discussions with the UAE regarding supplies of oil and diesel to find “an alternative to Russian petrol”.

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in parliament last week that the French energy giant is “discussing an agreement to have access to diesel and fuel from the Emirates this winter”.

He said the company’s efforts are part of the French initiative to secure sufficient energy and make up for the loss of Russian supplies.

The UAE’s energy exports to France are dominated by refined petroleum products and reached the record sum of 1.5 billion euros in 2019.


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