Abu Dhabi has received the delivery of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) from US-based Excelerate Energy, which will allow the emirate to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time.

The FSRU will add a capacity of 500 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) to the network of Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco) – the equivalent of about 7.5 per cent of the UAE’s gas consumption.

The facility, which is moored at the oil and gas hub of Ruwais in the west of the emirate, has already collected its first cargo, according to state-run Emirates News Agency (Wam).

In addition to transporting LNG, FSRUs have the on-board capability to vaporise LNG and deliver natural gas through offshore and near-shore receiving facilities.

The facility has been installed amid delays on a project to build a larger onshore LNG import terminal in Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman coast. Commercial engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) bids were submitted in March 2015, but it is unclear what the status of the project is.

The UAE became a net importer of gas in 2007 coinciding with the start-up of the Dolphin Energy pipeline from Qatar. In 2015, the country produced 5.7 million cf/d of gas and consumed 6.7 million cf/d, according to statistics from BP.

Gasco is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), which holds a majority 68 per cent share, and Shell (15 per cent), Total (15 per cent) and Partex (2 per cent).