The fall in global oil prices over the last two months will not affect the UAE’s plans to expand its oil and gas capacity over the coming years, say senior representatives of the Gulf state’s oil sector.

The Brent benchmark price has plunged from $115 a barrel in June to four-year lows, falling to below $85 a barrel in the first week of November.

“Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is not impacted or influenced [by prices] when it needs to develop new fields,” said Ali Khalifa al-Shamsi, director of coordination and strategy at state-owned Adnoc.

“Development will take a lot of time, so we can have an edge in competitiveness when prices and the international climate of the market are beneficial,” he added, speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on 4 November ahead of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (Adipec).

Brent Crude spot price 2014

The UAE, one of the world’s largest oil exporters, is aiming to expand its crude production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2017 from a current level of about 3 million b/d.

“The strategy of UAE is to continue development in the field of oil and gas, and we have strategic partners in terms of buyers and long-term contracts,” said Al-Shamsi. “Of course, these partnerships will serve the interests of both parties and lead to the stability of the international market.

“In previous years, Adnoc benefited from competitive prices of projects… we have commitments toward the sector, especially in gas,” he added.

The comments were echoed by a representative from the UAE Energy Ministry, who said projects would not be influenced by global market fluctuations.

“The UAE is continuing with projects. We do not look at growth outside the UAE, only inside,” said Ahmad Mohamed al-Kaabi, director of the ministry’s Petroleum Economics Department, also speaking at the Adipec press conference. “We are [also] expanding refinery capacities, and most of it is for internal demand in UAE.”