UAE Announces Reopening of Sea Borders With Qatar

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday January 8, 2021

The UAE will reopen its sea borders with Qatar on Saturday after a diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East, in what may herald a sharp rise in Fujairah's bunker market share this year.

"The United Arab Emirates has decided to end all measures taken against Qatar and to reopen its airspace, land and sea borders with her," the country's Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure said in a circular released on Friday.

The change will come into effect as of the start of Saturday.

Diplomatic relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt were restored on Tuesday, ending a three-year embargo against Qatar that had seen its ships avoid UAE ports.

The return of Qatargas ships to Fujairah could add 180,000-220,000 mt/month of bunker demand there, a local market source told Ship & Bunker on Tuesday.

It may take 'a few months' for the demand to return, the source added.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of support for terrorism and criticising its relationship with Iran. This resulted in a ban on Qatari-flagged ships visiting their ports, meaning Qatar's gas carriers shifted their bunker demand from Fujairah to ports outside the Middle East.

Fujairah's bunker demand was around 12-15 million mt/year at its peak, according to local market sources, and is likely to have been below 8 million mt in 2020.