Natural Gas Pivotal To Mideast’s Growth
From Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH – The biggest challenge to the energy sector in the Middle East is meeting the region’s surging demand for electricity. If electric power continued to be generated on a large scale by inefficient oil-fired power plants, as it is today, not even the entire oil output of the Middle East would be enough in the long term – then the region would have to import crude, a study by Siemens and the Technical University of Munich revealed.
“The rapidly increasing domestic demand for energy is a major challenge to the countries of the Middle East. More efficient power plants and greater utilization of local natural gas deposits to fuel high-efficiency gas power plants can help to quench the thirst for energy sustainably and at an affordable cost,” said Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Siemens Energy Sector, against the backdrop of a round-table debate in Abu Dhabi.
Taking Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest crude oil producer, as an example, Siemens has highlighted future challenges in the study. Saudi Arabia’s power demand is set to more than double by 2030.
About half of today’s power is being generated in oil-fired power plants, the rest in gas power plants. If this power mix were to remain unchanged, the country would have to import crude within just three decades, as it would no longer be able to produce enough oil for its own consumption.
To counter this long-term trend, Saudi Arabia is pushing to exploit renewable energy sources on a larger scale and to develop a nuclear power capability, and is building more gas power plants.
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