Industryweek 2832 Natural Gas Middle East

Middle East and North Africa Poised for Natural Gas Boom

Sept. 17, 2012
Higher living standards in the Middle East and North Africa will push more governments to build up their natural gas and power sectors.

Natural gas and electricity demand in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to grow 52% by 2030 as oil prices in the region continue to rise and living standards evolve, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates reported Monday.

The increased demand in the area will require more than $1 trillion in investments, IHS reported.

The energy research group expects total natural gas demand in the region to reach 1,140 billion cubic meters by 2030, up from 750 billion cubic meters in 2011.

The region, known as MENA, will also need to add 310 gigawatts of electrical capacity during the same period.  At least 190 gigawatts, or $155 billion worth of investments, are expected to be available for the private sector.

Higher living standards in MENA will push more governments to build up their natural gas and power sectors, said Leila Benali, IHS CERA’s director for Middle East and Africa energy and project manager of the study.

“The political imperative comes from the need for countries in the region to develop their national economies in order to deliver a higher standard of living to what are young, increasingly urbanized and growing populations,” Benali said. “At the same time, there is a growing determination of governments to invest domestically or regionally rather than outside the region, which is what they have traditionally done.”

Natural gas and electricity prices will likely rise in the region to support increasing gas production and electricity generation costs, IHS reported.

MENA will be the most electricity-intensive region in the world in the next two decades, IHS projected in its report.

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