By John Parnell
French President Francois Hollande will address a sustainability event in the UAE before lobbying the country’s President on behalf of Total for a long-term oil contract.
“This trip to the UAE is an opportunity to identify ways the global community can better work together to carve a pathway for sustainability and the deployment of clean energy,” said Hollande of his role at the WFES.
According to Reuters, Hollande will then meet with the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan to discuss a $10bn deal to operate the Bab sour gas field.
The “sour” is a reference to its high hydrogen sulphide content, a poisonous gas, which requires expertise to remove.
It is expected that the firm awarded the Bab field will be in pole position to take over the UAE’s largest onshore oil concession, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO), when it comes up for renewal in 2014.
“Apparently France will be some sort of guest of honour, even though they don’t use that term, because lunch will be dedicated to France,” an unnamed diplomatic source told Reuters.
France is also reportedly in the midst of discussions regarding the sale of 60 fighter jets, while French company Areva is also part of the consortium that will develop the UAE’s first nuclear power plant.
France has been a prominent player at the UN climate change negotiations. Its national development agency will dedicate 50% of its turnover to climate action between 2012-2016.
The country has also volunteered to host the 2015 round of the talks that, on current timetables, will see the agreement of a global deal to reduce emissions.
Oil and gas rich UAE is pursuing a number of clean energy ventures including the experimental low-carbon Masdar City and bank rolling the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
It was one of four Gulf nations to take the first steps towards a carbon emissions reduction pledge at the UN climate talks in Doha last month.