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Mideast injects Dh661bn in energy projects

By Wam

New power, water, and energy projects valued at $180 billion (Dh660.6 billion) are underway or at the planning stages in the Middle East, as the UAE forges ahead with 20 projects worth $34.2 billion (Dh125.5 billion).

Spearheaded by the $20 billion Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, which began construction late in 2011, the UAE will be one of the most active markets in the power, water and energy sectors over the next two years, at a time when power demand across all GCC countries is expected to grow 8 to10 per cent annually.

Saudi Arabia holds the lion's share of investment value in the region, due to the $100 billion King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy, which begins construction in 2013. The Kingdom also has a further 15 projects worth nearly US$9 billion currently underway, or due to begin in 2012.

Underlining huge opportunities for energy sector manufacturers and service providers within the region and worldwide, the scale of development in the Middle East is highlighted by figures collated by market research specialist Ventures Middle East ahead of Middle East Electricity, taking place from 7-9 February at the Dubai International Convention '&' Exhibition Centre.

Featuring more than 1,000 exhibitors, Middle East Electricity is the world's leading energy event that focuses on power, lighting, renewable, nuclear and water sectors.

Qatar recently announced plans to build at least eight power and water facilities worth $4.8 billion in the next three years, including the $3 billion Qatar Facility D power project, which is slated have construction started on in 2012.

Meanwhile Bahrain has four projects currently ongoing worth US$4.2 billion; Kuwait has 17 projects valued at US$4 billion, while Oman has put aside US$2.9 billion for 13 new power, water and energy projects which will begin construction in 2012.

Anita Mathews, Middle East Electricity Exhibition Director said in the build-up to the event: "According to the World Energy Council, the GCC will require 100 GW of additional power over the next 10 years to meet growing demand. The power sector will require US$50 billion worth of investments in new power generating capacity and $20 billion in desalination.

"In response, new contractor awards in the power, water and renewable energy sectors are being announced every month in the Middle East, as seen in December last year, when six new contractor awards were announced in Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq, valued at $1.5 billion, while in January this year, five new contractor awards worth $130 million were announced in UAE, Kuwait, and Oman.

"This too is reflected in exhibitor space occupied at Middle East Electricity 2012, which has exceeded last year's occupied space by 15 per cent. We have also seen growth in exhibitor numbers and expect more than 15,000 unique visitors to attend the three-day event."

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Jordan has nine projects predominantly in the water sector worth $6.1 billion set to begin construction in 2012, while Morocco looks to make the most of its natural abundance of wind resources, earmarking $3.8 billion worth of renewable energy projects over the next two years.

At the same time, Egypt and Iraq continue to move forward with power infrastructure plans as both countries commit US$5.3 billion each to new projects over the next two years.

Organised by Informa Exhibitions, Middle East Electricity is under the patronage of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

A new feature for the 37th edition of the event is the Middle East Electricity Awards, established to recognise outstanding achievements of individuals, departments, teams or organisations that have contributed to the growth and development of the energy industry in the Middle East.

Other highlights of the event include the free-to-attend technical seminars, where a selection of exhibitors will present latest innovations and products to visitors on the over the three days on the show floor.