Dubai-based energy company Lootah Biofuels has signed an agreement with Maldives state-owned utility firm Fenaka Corporation to develop its first biofuel production plant from used cooking oil (UCO) outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Zawya reported.

The agreement showed Lootah Biofuels’ commitment to expanding its reach beyond the UAE, the 25 April report said.

With most Maldivian islands located just above sea level, the Republic of Maldives has launched several projects aimed at combating the effects of climate change on the country, according to the report.

The signing of the agreement took place during a visit by a delegation from Lootah Biofuels – led by the company’s CEO Yousif bin Saeed Lootah – to the Maldives at the invitation of the government to discuss opportunities for cooperation in biofuel production, Zawya wrote.

"This 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,” Lootah was quoted as saying.

Lootah Biofuels’ visit to the Maldives followed a visit in February by Faisal Nasim, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, to the Lootah Biofuel Factory in Dubai, which produces biofuels from UCO and is used by fleets of major companies in the UAE.

Established in 2010, Lootah Biofuels operates seven private biofuel stations in Dubai and Sharjah and has plans to operate them in the rest of the Emirates and open a facility in Abu Dhabi this year, according to the report.

Producing a total of more than 60M litres/year of biofuels and exporting them to European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, in addition to India, the company was looking to export them to many countries in the Gulf region and in Asia to meet rising global demand, the report said.

Fenaka Corporation supplies electricity, water, and sewerage to the island communities of the Maldives.