More coal-fired power plants are likely to be built across the MENA region, including in some Gulf countries. Low fixed gas prices often mean production has failed to keep up with demand, leading generators to look to import fuel: and coal is typically the cheapest option. Nevertheless, coal’s role in regional power sector expansion is set to remain marginal.

“There is some MENA interest in coal in order to meet growing electricity demand,” says Keisuke Sadamori, director of energy markets and security at the International Energy Agency (IEA). “Though many MENA countries are gas exporters, the cost advantage of coal makes it sensible for them to import coal. We will see more cases of regional power projects,” he said at the launch of the IEA’s latest Medium Term Coal Market Report on 16 December. (CONTINUED - 718 WORDS)