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Lootah Biofuels turns gaze to Asia after Maldives deal

Lootah Biofuels CEO Yousif bin Saeed Lootah and Ahmed Saeed, CEO of Fenaka, at the deal signing Lootah Biofuels
Lootah Biofuels CEO Yousif bin Saeed Lootah and Ahmed Saeed, CEO of Fenaka Maldives, at the deal signing
  • UAE company to invest $7m to build Maldives‘ first biofuels plant
  • Lootah Biofuels already exports to the UK, Netherlands and India
  • Its plant in Dubai turns used cooking oil into fuel

Lootah Biofuels has signed an agreement with state-owned Fenaka Corporation, a company serving the island communities of the Maldives, to establish its first biofuel plant outside the UAE.

Lootah, which is based in Dubai, said the deal underscored its commitment to expand its reach internationally to meet long-term energy needs through clean alternatives.

For the first phase of the Maldives project, Lootah Biofuels will initially invest $7 million, CEO Yousif bin Saeed Lootah told AGBI. The company is looking “for other remote islands and countries in the region” to build further plants, he added.

The Republic of Maldives, a chain of atolls in the Indian Ocean, has launched several projects aimed at combating the effects of climate change as most of its islands are located just above sea level and threatened by rising temperatures.

The republic’s vice president, Faisal Naseem, visited the Lootah Biofuels factory in Dubai in February, to see how used cooking oil is turned into fuel. During his trip to the UAE, Naseem also met Sultan Al Jaber, the Emirates’ climate change envoy and Cop28 president.

Faisal Naseem, the vice president of the Maldives, met Sultan Al Jaber during his visit to the UAEPresident's Office, Republic of Maldives
Faisal Naseem, the vice president of the Maldives, met Sultan Al Jaber during his visit to the UAE

Lootah Biofuels produces more than 60 million litres of biofuel each year and exports to European countries including the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, as well as India.

Its CEO said he was working to increase business in the company’s home market as well as add new export markets in the Gulf and Asia.

“We see potential in the UAE and the Middle East region, where regulation of using sustainable fuels will be implemented, especially as it is a growing market in the next 10 years,” he said. 

“The memorandum of understanding with Fenaka is an important step in our strategy to grow and expand our business globally, which is in line with the UAE’s goals to spearhead global action to fight climate change and protect the planet.”

Aminath Shauna, the Maldives’ minister of environment, climate change and technology, said the country “would provide the necessary facilities” to start biofuel production in the Maldives.

Ahmed Saeed, CEO of Fenaka Maldives, said he looked forward to creating the Maldives’ first biofuel plant, adding: “This is an innovative solution that will help promote sustainable development in line with the priorities of the Maldives.”

Since its establishment in 2010, Lootah Biofuels has been supplying the commercial fleets of large companies with biofuel that is cheaper than conventional diesel. 

It operates seven private biofuel stations in Dubai and Sharjah and plans to open a facility in Abu Dhabi this year.