Atlantic Council

2020 Global Energy Forum

Official Opening of the Fourth Global Energy Forum

Speakers:

Frederick Kempe,

President and CEO,

Atlantic Council

General James L. Jones, Jr., USMC (Ret.),

Executive Chairman Emeritus,

Atlantic Council

H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber,

Minister of State, United Arab Emirates;

Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei,

Minister of Energy and Industry,

United Arab Emirates

H.E. Mohamed Al Hammadi,

Chief Executive Officer,

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

Location:  Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Time:  9:15 a.m. Local

Date:  Saturday, January 11, 2020

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe.  (Applause.)

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, what an immense pleasure it is for me to welcome you to the fourth annual Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum.  For those of you who have joined us before, welcome back.  For those of you who have joined us for the first time or are joining us for the first time, we hope that you learn much, that you make new friends, and that you’ll return to help us set the energy agenda for years to come.  In all, you total more than 700 delegates representing 75 countries.  This is the best, deepest, most talented group that we’ve ever had at this conference.

It is our greatest honor to hold this forum under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces.  We thank him for his country’s generous hospitality.

This event is only possible due to the tremendous support and vision of our key presenting partners:  ADNOC, led by CEO and UAE minister of state, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber; Mubadala Investment Company led by CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak as well as CEO of Mubadala Petroleum and Petrochemicals platform, Musabbeh Al Kaabi; and CEO of Masdar, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi.

It’s also a pleasure to once again host this event in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry, and with our partner from the beginning in this venture, Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.  Thank you, sir, for your generous support and commitment to developing this forum as the agenda-setting event that kicks off the global energy agenda every year, one which this year has added the responsibility of forging new partnerships and priorities for the new decade.

We’re also grateful to the forum’s platinum co-chairs, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum and Mohamed Al Hammadi, CEO of the Emirates’ Nuclear Energy Corporation.  Thank you, as well, to all the rest of our partners in the audience who are making this event possible.  And finally, a special thanks to our international media partner, CNBC, and the other key media partners here today.

I also want to draw attention to some sad news, and also to a particularly happy event, as well.  First, we mourn the passing of Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, the longest serving Arab ruler, who pulled his country from poverty and brokered peace talks between global forces.  If you please, join me in just a moment of silence.

(Pause.)

Thank you.  We’ll also send our condolences directly to one of our regular attendees who is not here this year, the minister of oil and energy from Oman.

Our condolences also go to the 176 victims who died this week in the Ukrainian International Airlines disaster in Iran:  82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, three British.  We will pass our condolences, as well, to the Canadian energy minister, who was forced to cancel his attendance at this event.

On a more positive note – and this is a truly positive note – the director of this forum and of our Global Energy Center, Randy Bell, became a father yesterday, so we congratulate him, his wife Lacey (sp), and their baby boy, Porter, weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and we’ve decided to give him the next couple of days off.  (Laughter.)  But the next time you see Randy, or if you can send him a note, email or text, congratulate him on this really happy, happy news.

It’s really due to his immense preparatory efforts and those of his team that we have the largest group we’ve had here before with the most robust agenda, and a depth of brain power and experts that has been unprecedented at this forum.  We had off-the-record workshops yesterday, which was a nice innovation and where the work gets done in an even deeper way by people focused on very specific issues.  The opening, officially, is today, and we’ll have two days of public sessions. 

And we also had a round of dinners – some of you attended some dinners last night.  The one I attended, with just 20, 25 people at the table, was truly, truly global in nature where the following countries were represented:  South Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Albania, Japan, Bangladesh, Italy, the U.K., UAE, Iraq, Latvia, and of course, my parents are German immigrants.  But it is a truly, truly global event that’s getting deeper with each year.

It is an important time to be here in Abu Dhabi.  The events of the past week highlight that this region is the center of gravity for global geopolitics, and it’s crucial that we have sustained engagement in the Middle East for global peace, security, and economic prosperity.  The Atlantic Council is devoted to reducing tensions in the region in any way we can to contribute, and unlocking the human potential – the remarkable human potential of this region. 

The world’s eyes are focused on the Middle East and on the new geopolitical dynamics unfolding here, but the world’s fate is not only shaped by the region’s geopolitics of today, it’s also deeply intertwined in the energy and economic choices that the region makes in coming years and decades, and the emerging challenges we all face.

The year 2019 offered a grave reminder, for example, of how climate change could not simply set back the global economy and our society, but risk the very prosperity and security that has underwritten the post-Cold War global order.  Consider wildfires in Australia, Brazil, and California that have taken lives, destroyed ecosystems, and bankrupted companies.  Consider the extreme heat suffocating many urban areas.  2019, in fact, was the second hottest year ever recorded at a time when urbanization and the electrification of everything has cemented an economy and society dependent on rapid economic growth.

Indeed, climate-fueled natural disasters have cost the economy almost $1 trillion over the last five years.  So the energy transition that we’re talking about and have been talking about over the last four years is driven in part by the quest to avoid these costs and will require massive investment, but if implemented correctly will bring about countless benefits and will become the driver of economic growth, innovation, and energy security for all.

Abu Dhabi has an outsized role to play in addressing some of these challenges.  From the decarbonization of the oil and gas sector to financing the infrastructure needed for a low-carbon society, what’s happening here, what’s happening in the Emirates, what’s happening in Abu Dhabi is truly inspiring. 

It’s also for that reason that we convened the Global Energy Forum here as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which has solidified its role as the focal point for the future of energy on sustainability trends.  It is a tremendous honor for the Atlantic Council, for me personally, to be part of ADSW, the largest gathering on energy and sustainability, certainly, in the Middle East and probably in the world.  This is also a year of commitments at ADSW and we are thrilled at the Atlantic Council to be announcing our own commitment today and I’ll do that in just a minute.

But, first, I want to show you this video from ADSW that features some of the people that you will hear from shortly.

(A video presentation is shown.)

(Applause.)

MR. KEMPE:  It’s a powerful film, and I hope we can make a powerful commitment in the spirit of ADSW.  So on behalf of the Atlantic Council, it’s my pleasure today to announce publicly for the first time that sustaining the environment and addressing climate change has become one of the defining challenges for the Atlantic Council’s work. 

We recognize that a sustainable planet is a crucial piece of our future and the Atlantic Council, with its mission to shape the global future together with allies and partners, is uniquely suited to take on this challenge.

This represents a fundamental evolution in the Council’s strategy and it will be implemented across multiple of our programs and centers.  Our work on climate and environment includes the climate change mitigation efforts of our Global Energy Center, some of which will be featured during this forum, including mobilizing capital and de-risking clean-energy investment, improving policy frameworks for renewables and nuclear energy, and driving the decarbonization of fossil fuels.  We’ve been doing much of this work in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation.

It also involves the climate adaptation efforts of the Atlantic Council’s new Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, which has the ambition of reaching 1 billion people – 1 billion people – with resilience solutions to climate change, migration, and security challenges by 2030.

Our global resilience work will range from reducing the effects of extreme heat on vulnerable people, developing innovative finance and risk products, and developing new policy approaches to reduce biodiversity loss, ocean risks, and human migration.  So you see, we not only convene in a big way; we can also act in a big way. 

Embedded across these efforts is a focus to bring together individuals, communities, and a broad spectrum of governments and institutions to help them, to help their constituencies and stakeholders, and to better prepare for, navigate, and recover from shocks and stresses, which are going to be inevitable.

Together, these two efforts, alongside many other commitments that will be announced as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – and I know you’ll also hear more from our partner at the forum, Majid Jafar, a little bit later today about his and his company’s own commitments – we will work focused as ever on real impact to not only buffer the world from the climate-related shocks to come but also to bend the trajectory of the energy sector because it cannot and it will not be business as usual.

We don’t shy away from the tough challenges that many are afraid to tackle such as how to diversify companies and economies away from carbon-intensive paths or building bridges between partners that will shape our collective energy and climate future.  We hope that you will join us and help us to meet this defining challenge.  Together, we are committed.

And now I’m honored to introduce our executive chairman emeritus, General Jim Jones, who will formally open the forum.  His previous service, from national security advisor to President Barack Obama to Supreme Allied Commander Europe to Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, are only a part of how valuable he is to the world and, of course, to the Atlantic Council and how honored we are to have him in our leadership as one of only two individuals who has served twice as Atlantic Council chairman.

General Jones, thank you so much for what you’ve done for the world, what you do for the Atlantic Council.  We are fortunate to have you on our team and with us today.

The podium is yours.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Executive Chairman Emeritus of the Atlantic Council General James Jones.

GENERAL JAMES L. JONES, JR. (RET.):  Thank you, Fred.  It’s been a great honor for me to work with you since 2007 and before in your previous capacity as a journalist in Europe, and who has served twice as chairman of this great organization.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Atlantic Council is driven and informed and led by a board of directors and an international advisory board.  I’d like to take a minute to personally thank the members of these boards with us here in Abu Dhabi for their engagement.

They are Philippe Amon, Mack Bernstein, Fatih Birol, Helima Croft, Ankit Desai, Gianni D. Giovanni, Paula Dobriansky, Meg Gentle, Amos Hochstein, Majid Jafar, Dick Morningstar, Franco Nuschese, Dan Poneman, and General Chuck Wald.  Thank you all for being here.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for joining us today.  It’s terrific to be back in Abu Dhabi for the fourth year of the Global Energy Forum.  This year’s forum holds some extra gravity.  We are setting the agenda not only for the year ahead but for the decade ahead, and where we are today in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi we are at the heart of so many megatrends shaping the decade to come.

Most saliently to the events of recent days, Abu Dhabi is a critical and reliable friend and an ally in a region that is navigating incredibly choppy geopolitical waters.  The escalation of tensions following last week’s confrontation with Iran and the developments on the ground since are poised to reshape the geopolitical playing field in a region that is grappling with political, economic, and social uncertainty.

To borrow the recent words of the U.S. secretary of defense, and I quote, “The game has changed, not just tactically but strategically.”  I would only add that while the game has changed, American interests in the regions and those shared with our friends and allies remain steadfast.  And therefore, our presence commercially, economically, diplomatically, and militarily must also persist to advance and defend those shared interests.

To the extent that there may be doubt regarding the U.S. commitment to the region, this should be repaired as quickly as possible.  And as the world seems to drift towards a new bipolar framework with the U.S. and China being the two bookends on the playing field, energy will play a pivotal role in the immediate and foreseeable future.

The energy-have nations are morally obligated, it seems to me, to not only lead the global discourse but to share with the have-not nations the technologies to allow them to skip the pollution years in their development and to better provide for their people.  Unlike the example of Russia, who frequently uses energy as a weapon of coercion, we should set the example by our policies and our actions to protect the planet and share in the betterment of humankind.  It is a huge task, but one in which the Atlantic Council has made huge strides in advancing towards the strategic way ahead.

One need look no further than to the Three Seas Initiative created in 2014 as an Atlantic Council concept in response to Russia’s energy policies towards Europe.  One year from now, when we next meet, we will all be amazed by the progress made this year in this initiative.  As much as anything else, it is part of the emergence of a comprehensive defense of Europe plan that will materially enhance the security of Central and Eastern Europe and of Europe itself.

But this is a strategic course the U.S. cannot navigate alone and certainly should not navigate alone.  The United States, in my view, must work closely not only with its partners in this region, but globally on each continent.  The current moment is an opportunity to draw closer to our partners and allies, to strengthen interconnections between vibrant societies, and to use energy as a tool for promoting peace, stability, and prosperity across the globe.  In doing so, the United States and its friends can stand in stark contrast to the other countries on the global stage who seek to use energy scarcity as a weapon to prey on weaker and less-developed neighbors.

The new challenges in the region and the demand to tackle them together underscores a broader theme as we set the agenda for 2020.  From engaging with a rising China, to the impact of technological trends, to supporting free trade and good governance, the global system demands engagement if we wish to secure the future together.

To echo Fred’s point, one of these defining challenges that all of us in this room must work to address is climate change.  Failure to do so will further destabilize our most fragile conflict zones, disrupt the functioning of societies rich and poor, and create enormous stresses on the practice of global governance.  The response to the climate challenge is one that we should be leading.  That the United States too often finds itself on the sidelines only weakens our hand across many other foreign policy priorities and does not recognize the tremendous progress the U.S. itself has made in reducing our own carbon footprint over the years as compared to quite a few other countries.  It is for this reason that I’m proud of the new commitment announced by Fred and pleased that the Atlantic Council will continue to place climate change and the transition to a lower-carbon energy system at the core of the Global Energy Forum.

And this returns us to the very mandate of this event:  navigating the geopolitics of the energy transition.  A new paradigm is taking shape, one in which secure 5G networks will do as much to determine the contours of power as the bridges, the supply lines, and even the pipelines of today.  It is one in which climate change will shape investment decisions as well as troop deployments.  Within a year from today, our friends and allies will be exposed to adopting incredible technologies that will provide impenetrable 5G security for most of our critical infrastructures in both the public and the private sectors.  And they will compete successfully with anything from any other country.  On that – on that I am certain that we will be successful.

So this is at the heart of our task today, to shape the exciting and the positive future that the global energy potential can unleash.  The events of the past week pose significant questions, many of which I’m sure we will seek to discuss and answer over the coming two days.  No doubt America has been fortunate regarding its recent energy successes.  But that success doubles down on our responsibilities, and they also remind us of the value of partnerships in addressing these tumultuous times together.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s now my honor to turn the stage over to one of our most well known and key partners, a man who has been at the formation of the astonishing transformation of the United Arab Emirates in such a relatively short period of time.  Let me welcome to the podium His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, minister of state of the United Arab Emirates and chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.  Mr. Minister, thank you for your hospitality and welcome.  The floor is yours.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage minister of state of the United Arab Emirates and chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.  (Applause.)

MINISTER SULTAN AL JABER:  Bismillah al rahman al rahim.  Salaam aleikum.

Your excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.  I’d like to take a moment to also extend our condolences to the Sultanate of Oman and its people at this very sad time.

Ladies and gentlemen, it indeed gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum.  Over the past four years this forum has established itself as a true valuable platform for industry and policy leaders to engage on the main key issues shaping the energy sector.  In fact, there are only few platforms that are as equipped to assess the very delicate dynamics of our region and their geopolitical implications.  With this in mind, I am pleased that geopolitical tensions have dissipated over the past few days, and that wisdom, balance, and diplomacy appear to be prevailing.

Ladies and gentlemen, while we continue to live with some uncertainties, the global economy going into 2020 appears to be in better shape than last year.  While trade tensions easing, manufacturing showing signs of renewed growth, and global consumer spending strengthening, we can look forward with cautious optimism.

This economic outlook means both the short- and long-term demand for energy remains very robust.  Over the next two decades we will see growth of at least 25 to 30 percent in energy demand.  This is a rate of increase that no single source can satisfy and presents the key challenge of how to produce more energy with fewer emissions.

Here in the United Arab Emirates, we see this challenge as a unique opportunity and a natural extension of our energy leadership.  In the last 10 years we have grown our solar capacity 400 percent and invested in renewable energy projects approaching 12 gigawatt(s) here in the UAE and across 25 countries around the world.  We are adding clean nuclear power to our domestic portfolio.  Working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency, this year the UAE will be the first country in the region to operate a safe, commercial, peaceful nuclear power station.

At the same time we will continue to responsibly grow our hydrocarbon resources to ensure reliable flows of energy to global markets.  At ADNOC we are well on track to increase crude oil production capacity to 4 million barrels by the end of this year, and we made significant new discoveries last year that moved the UAE from seventh- to sixth-largest oil and gas reserves in the world.  In fact, we are also on a path to achieve gas self-sufficiency and to ultimately become a net exporter.

Importantly, as we expand across our value chain, we will follow the principles of responsible production set by our late founding father, Sheikh Zayed, who mandated a policy of zero flaring ahead of his time and laid a very strong foundation that has made ADNOC one of the least carbon-intensive oil and gas producers in the world.  And today we are building on this legacy with the region’s first and largest CCUS facility, which currently captures 800,000 tons of CO2.  And we are expanding this capacity to over 500 percent in only the next 10 years.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we continue to responsibly deliver the energy the world needs, we are also helping shape more transparent market conditions.  This is, in fact, the motivation behind ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, which we launched only two months ago in partnership with the Intercontinental Exchange, Global Traders, and many major producers.  The new exchange will trade Murban.  Murban is Abu Dhabi’s signature grade of crude that is already well established as the crude of choice throughout refineries in Asia.  Crucially, the new futures market will replace retroactive pricing with forward pricing, allowing buyers to hedge their risk.  This will benefit our customers, drive additional value, and create an oil market that is more efficient and less volatile.

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, as we look ahead our wise leadership has designated that this year should set the UAE on a path towards the next 50 years – a path that will build on our unique advantages, extend our competitiveness, and grow new strengths through long-term strategic partnerships.  And as we prepare for a future that will require more energy with less environmental impact, it will be crucial to bring all stakeholders together to the table, from investors and industry to civil society and academia.  I invite you all to take advantage of this very important forum and the entire Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to work on developing real, true, practical solutions for real partnerships, meaningful ones, and identify real investment opportunities.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates His Excellency Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al Mazrouei.  (Applause.)

MINISTER SUHAIL AL MAZROUEI:  Salaam aleikum.  (In Arabic.)

(Continues in English.)  Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.  And it’s a great pleasure to see this crowd again here in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.  It has been a great journey between us at the Atlantic Council to create this Global Energy Forum.  This is the fourth year and it has been a growth since we started.  So thank you, Fred, and the Atlantic Council.

I would like to start, as well, of echoing the – giving my condolences to the Sultanate of Oman and to the Omani people for losing a great leader, a leader who had formed the – one of the formers of the GCC Council, a leader that we all see as a father.

And back to the – to this gathering, you remember last year when I addressed you it was a challenging year.  I remember getting the fourth quarter results of the – of the 2018, we were in a very difficult position in trying to forecast 2019.  And I remember I was optimistic.  And overall, the year 2019 have demonstrated it was a great year compared to the view we had just looking at the fourth quarter where we exited 2018.

We have managed to maintain the – as OPEC and non-OPEC, the Declaration of Cooperation, to maintain it and to move it to the next year with a commitment from all countries.  We have managed, as well, to keep the – to keep the inventories around the five years average for the longest period, I would say, compared to the volatilities that we used to have.  And we ended the year with a great extension taking us at least to March of 2020, ensuring and continuing this journey of maintaining the balance between the inventories and the supply and demand.

And people ask me, what do you forecast for 2020?  And I see – I see 2020, as well, is going to be a continuation of the good work.  Dr. Sultan have mentioned to you many achievements that we have done here in the United Arab Emirates, and 2020 is going to be a critical year for us.  2020 we will start our first unit of our nuclear reaction with the – with starting the fuel loading.  2020 is the year for us as a country to prepare for the next 50 years.  And 2020 is going to be a year of a commitment and plans for the future.

UAE in energy and overall gives a good example to the region, where the leadership and the wisdom of the leadership gives hope to its people, gives hope to its youth that the future is going to be better than today.  And we are committed as policymakers to ensure that the policies we do for the future are delivering a better country, delivering a better future for the whole region.  We are giving an example of how a government in the Middle East can reach space, and we did.  It was only a 10 years’ journey.  We give an example to the region when we said we will establish the first and the safest nuclear power generation in the region, and it was by far the most – the fastest and the most professional program that being complimented by all over the world.  And now our government is preparing us for the next 50 years of prosperity, partnership, and peace.

So I’m very optimistic about 2020 since it is the year of preparation for the 50 for us. And talking as a member of OPEC, I can assure you that the commitment I have seen among all of the countries, which are now more than 20 countries in the OPEC-plus, they are all committed not to raise the prices, not to just benefit.  They are committed to deliver a balance and ensure that the world is well supplied, ensure that we incentivize investment into the sector.  We care about the consuming nations and we will continue to work with them to drive prosperity rather than just a benefit to ourself as producers.

So I will not make it long.  We have – we have a panel to discuss further details.  But I’m really delighted to see all of you and to welcome you again, and wish you a successful year as I hope it will be.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage chief executive officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, His Excellency Mohamed Al Hammadi.  (Applause.)

MOHAMED AL HAMMADI:  Salaam aleikum.  (In Arabic.)

(Continues in English.)  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Your excellencies, distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here today at the official opening of the Global Energy Forum.

Over the years this event has grown to become a global and important platform for energy leaders.  It is very relevant that this forum takes place here in Abu Dhabi, a vital energy capital and a home to any forward-looking leadership and a pioneering energy sector.  Every year the program manage to succeed to provide a clear picture of the state of the energy industry and also highlight global geopolitics.  I’m pleased to have witnessed the evolution of this forum and to have participated in the forum’s sessions.  I would like to thank the Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe and his team, as well as – as well as the UAE Ministry of Energy, for their hard work.

However, this edition of the Global Energy Forum is very relevant for the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.  This year, 2020, is a strategically important year.  This year the United Arab Emirates will deliver a new chapter in the history of the energy sector for the UAE.  This year we will witness the delivery of the strategic energy decision that was taken 10 years ago, in 2009, by the leadership of the nation.

This decision was taken to secure the future electricity demand for the UAE.  The country launched a peaceful nuclear energy program to provide electricity and also to decarbonize the electricity sector in the UAE.  The project will change the power growth, reducing emissions while conserving our valuable natural resources.  After years of safety-driven development, I’m pleased to inform you that the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and its joint venture, Korea Electric Power Company and its operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company, are safely approaching commercial operations of our first unit of the APR-1400s in Barakah.

By 2020 we will be ready to begin the operating startup sequence of Unit 1.  But more importantly, we have learned that delivery of nuclear power plants provides much more than just safe, clean, and abundant electricity.  A peaceful nuclear energy program creates a tangible value to the economy and opens – and will open a new era of the development of the society and economy.

Yes, the energy of a clean and abundant electricity at Barakah will provide UAE with a clean, reliable, and safe electricity.  Once our four plants at Barakah – by the way, it’s a 1-kilometer-wide power plant – will be able to produce as much electricity as the entire generation of electricity in Portugal.  This safe and abundant electricity will change – will be a game-changer for the UAE.  It will allow the nation to deliver a new era of electrification of our economy.

Let me explain where are the key great value for our nation from the civilian nuclear power plants.

First, to our people.  It has already powered and will power for decades to come the skill of an entire generation of nuclear professionals in the UAE.  The young generations have been working and are provided with the skills and expertise to operate the nuclear power plants and civil nuclear industries such as medicine and food safety and the rest of it.

The value – secondly, value to industry.  The nuclear standards are the highest and most demanding from any industry in the world.  By complying with these standards, our industry has raised the local capabilities and has opened itself to new markets.

I’d like to share with you two examples.  One of them a company called MS Steel, one of the largest steel supplier(s) in the country.  They worked with us in collaboration and they have managed the nuclear standards, and they became a quality – nuclear-grade quality supplier to our power plants, and they managed contracts of $100 million.

Another company, a company called Ducab, they did the same.  They worked with us and they upgraded their standards, and they became a supplier to Barakah.  And also recently they won contracts to supply cables to Korea.

Our program will also greatly contribute to environmental sustainability, and both excellency talked about this earlier in their speeches.  It has the capacity to generate reliable electricity with almost zero emissions, and this will be a game-changer in reducing carbon emissions for the UAE and achieving environmental sustainability.  It brings our nation closer to achieving an ambitious emission-saving targets.  We’ll be preventing around 21 million tons of CO2 emissions on an annual basis, as well as greenhouse emissions and other pollutants.  To put things in perspective, this is – would be equivalent to removing around 3.2 million cars off the road on an annual basis.

And the fourth, the ability to deliver such complex projects in Barakah also is a testament of the UAE – of the UAE’s engineering and project-management capabilities.  I’m very proud to see how our nation – our nation’s professionals, working with international peers, have been – have been able to deliver the program to the high standards demanded by our regulator, by our industry, and our international agencies.

More than anything else, the peaceful nuclear project has successfully achieved the mission of the leadership of the UAE.  It will power the nation, setting the foundation to secure future jobs and opportunity, and also the development of our economy.  It becomes the largest contributor to both clean carbon emissions savings that the country have aspired to achieve.

Looking back just 10 years ago, the project could not have been delivered without the long-term partnership between the UAE and other responsible nations.  Key to this is the 123 Agreement that the UAE signed with the United States a decade ago.  It allowed access to talent, technology, and knowledge for our program to succeed.

Ladies and gentlemen, the UAE is ready to power its growth with the beginning of nuclear power plant operation of Unit 1.  We continue to work in compliance to robust regulatory standards and requirements by our regulator, FANR, and also with a close collaboration with international agencies, to achieve our goal.  Once FANR grants the operating license for Unit 1 we will begin the process to deliver, safe, clean, secure, and reliable electricity around the clock.

The delivery of and the realization of Barakah after a decade shows that a country can change its mission and emissions also in a very short term.  The UAE 10 years ago decided to embark and change its environmental footprint and energy mix.  Today we are – very soon we will be operating our first units in Barakah, the first nuclear power plants.  A demonstrated ability that a nation could meet its commitment offer(s) a new phase of growth and development.

I’d like to thank you.  (Applause.)

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated while we take the family photo.

(END)