Mena to invest $250bn power projects in 5 years

Gulf oil producers and other countries in the Middle East and North African (MENA) are expected to pump nearly $250 billion into power projects over the next five years to expand generation capacity and meet the growing domestic demand.

The projects will be one of the main topics of discussion at the 11th Power-Gen Middle East conference which will be held in Doha, Qatar. Scores of officials and experts from the Gulf and other countries will attend the annual event.

Organizers said nearly 200 power projects are on the agenda of the February 4-6 conference which will also discuss new technologies and other power-related issues.

 “Significant energy-related projects as part of the 200 planned and announced ventures valued between $100 million and $20 billion will be major points of discussion at Power-Gen in Doha,”  said the British PennWell Corporation, which is organizing the event.

“A total of $250 billion is expected to be pumped into the power sector in the MENA region over the next five years to meet regional electricity demand growth.”

The statement gave no breakdown for the investments but according to an official Arab group, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are expected to pump more than $63 billion into electricity projects over the next five years to expand their power generation capacity to meet growing domestic demand.

The six countries, which control 40 per cent of the world’s recoverable oil resources, will add nearly half the expected additional power generation capacity in the region, said a study by the Dammam-based Arab Petroleum Investment Corp (Apicorp).

It estimated the total capital in power generation in MENA at $147.5 billion during 2013-2017 to add about 123.9 GW of electricity while the rest could cover water projects.

“A regional breakdown shows that about 43 per cent of that expansion in MENA is expected in the GCC, which remains the fastest growing area.  This should come as no surprise, taking into account its record rates of urbanization and the massive requirements for water desalination and air conditioning.”

The study put investments in power projects at around $63.1 billion in the GCC, $36.8 billion in Mashreq (east) Arab nations, $21.4 billion in Iran, $14.6 billion in Maghreb Arab countries and nearly $2.3 billion in other Arab nations.

It said that as a result of high population growth, record levels of urbanization, sustained economic growth and pressing needs for air conditioning and sea water desalination, many countries in the region have been struggling to meet demand.

In a separate study, Apicorp said the GCC is projected to record the highest power demand growth of around 8.5 per cent in the region in the medium term.

It put growth at 7.6 per cent in Mashreq (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria), 7.2 per cent in other Arab states, seven per cent in Iran and 6.5 per cent in Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia).

Power-Gen, one of the most important events of its kind in the region, will be held at Qatar National Convention Centre under the patronage of Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry. The event will explore new venture investments, intellectual property, enhanced technology solutions, management skills and innovative new products.

More than 60 delegates from over 20 countries will speak about a variety of issues, including the challenges and opportunities for power project development, maximizing the current grid potential and future alternatives, renewable energy technologies as well as integration, operation and maintenance, the statement said.

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