The emirate of Fujairah has long been eclipsed by the economic rise of its larger neighbours Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It generated less than 1 per cent of the UAE’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, higher only than Umm al-Quwain.
Fujairah’s advantage is it has a coastline on the Gulf of Oman. This location has provided the impetus for a boom in investment in the emirate’s fuel storage and transport sectors.
The Abu Dhabi crude oil pipeline (Adcop), set to start up later this year, will be a game-changer for the emirate. With the capacity to shift most of the UAE’s crude output to Fujairah, Adcop will bypass the Strait of Hormuz, which has become the centre of a diplomatic spat between Iran and the West.
This has driven more than 10 companies to expand oil storage capacity in Fujairah, committing well over a billion dollars on projects being built over the next three years. Capacity is set to triple between 2011 and 2014.
Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) is also pushing ahead with plans to build an oil refinery and, in partnership with Mubadala Development Company, a liquefied natural gas terminal.
Despite only housing a population of about 130,000 people, Fujairah is already the world’s third largest ship bunkering hub and is aiming to rival Rotterdam and Singapore. The emirate is making strides in using its strategic location to fuel economic growth.