France signed a strategic energy cooperation agreement Monday with the United Arab Emirates to secure fuel and gas supplies as it moves to attain energy independence from Russia.
Paris sealed the crucial energy deal on the first overseas state visit of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who arrived in the country Sunday. It will allow for investments by both countries in hydrogen, renewable and nuclear energy, a statement from the Economy and Finance Ministry said.
“In the current uncertain energy context, this agreement will create a stable long-term framework for this cooperation, pave the way for new industrial contracts and identify future joint investment projects,” the statement added.
The agreement holds dual strategic importance for France, said Economy Minister Bruno le Maire, as it would allow it to “address the pressing challenges of energy security in the short term while preparing for a low-carbon future.”
The Emirates delegation will also sign commercial agreements between French energy giant TotalEnergies and state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on cooperation in the field of energy supply and a joint venture between Technip Energies and National Petroleum Construction Company to develop energy transition projects.
Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher, who hailed the energy cooperation as an “important step” towards securing France’s supplies, earlier in the day told the National Assembly that the French need to “prepare for the worst-case scenario” on energy matters “because it exists.”
She announced the setting up of a “temporary floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier project” in Le Havre Port that would increase import capacity. France is preparing to replace the Russian gas by managing the LNG supplies from different parts of the world via Norway.
France procures nearly 17% of its gas supply from Russia. In mid-June, gas transmission network GRTgaz announced that France no longer receives pipelined natural gas from Russia.
In March, France held talks with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar on diversifying Europe’s energy supplies away from Russian fuel and gas.