Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional electricity generators announced numerous major projects and initiatives in 2012 as they sought to keep pace with sharply rising power demand. While the region holds some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers and reserves, countries with large and small hydrocarbon resources alike sought to develop projects using a variety of fuels and technologies. With oil producers seeking to maintain their export revenues and oil importers seeking to control spending, last year saw notable progress in nuclear and renewables projects as well as in more conventional oil and gas-fired capacity.

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) sees rapidly growing electricity demand as a result of high population growth, fast expanding urban and industrial sectors, increasing need for air conditioning, and heavily subsidized electricity tariffs. In a 2 January Economic Commentary, APICORP senior consultant Ali Aissaoui observes: “With ongoing turmoil in parts of the region, catching up with unmet demand may be perceived as socially and politically more desirable.” Mr Aissaoui estimates required capacity growth at 7.8% a year, which would mean an additional 126gw to be added across the MENA region during 2013-17. He estimates the capital requirement at $148bn over the five years. (CONTINUED - 1886 WORDS)