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Outlook for a Power Generation Fuel Transition in the MENA Region

Demand for electrical power across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is growing rapidly because of rising population, growing urbanization, and economic growth driven by industrialization. The objective of this paper is to analyze the market requirements and trends for the different types of fuels and power generation technologies that can be utilized in the coming years to meet the growing demand for power generation for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Iran, Iraq, and Egypt (referred to in this report as GCC+ countries). The GCC+ countries have historically relied on fossil fuels for power generation, but these fuels are becoming increasing costly for power generation as a result of import costs for fuel importing countries and opportunity costs for fuel exporting countries. The hydrocarbon fuels considered in this study are both conventional and nonconventional, including sweet gas, sour gas, tight gas, shale gas, crude oil, heavy fuel oil, and diesel oil. We assess the availability of these fuel types for power generation and consider alternative power generation technologies, primarily nuclear and renewable energies, which are aligned with national energy strategies and projected resource availabilities. The analysis provides an understanding of the current and projected fuels available for power generation in the GCC+ countries and suggest the unconventional hydrocarbons will play a key role in future energy systems of many MENA countries.
Toufic Mezher, Steve Griffiths, Mohammad Abu Zahra, and Zeina Abbas
Masdar Institute
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United Arab Emirates
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