Energy-investment rise seen in MENA region

Total energy investments over the next 5 years in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will reach $900 billion, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corp. (APICORP).

The estimate is up $145 billion from a projection made in 2015, APICORP said.

Committed projects under execution in the MENA region account for $289 billion of the expected investment. The remaining $611 billion is for planned projects.

APICORP said Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE will lead regional investment with projects spanning the energy value chain. Iraq and Iran, the development bank said, “will play catch-up and are determined to push their ambitious oil and gas plans forward but will face many above-ground challenges.”

Algeria has announced aggressive investment plans, and the giant Zohr offshore natural gas discovery and related power development will boost spending in Egypt (OGJ Online, Mar. 10, 2016).

Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan will invest in renewable energy projects to meet rising power demand.

While noting the region’s strong link between investment and oil prices, APICOR said some countries, including those leading the investment plans, have said they’ll proceed even if prices stay low.

Countries with low fiscal buffers and other claims on revenue, especially Iraq, “may have to reconsider their ambitious capacity-expansion programs,” the report said.

APICORP also pointed out that creditworthiness has deteriorated in the MENA region and that conflicts and instability will discourage investment.

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