Power shortages in Saudi Arabia, Iraq spark international surge for billion-dollar business
International power specialist companies are lining up for a slice of two of the world's most potentially lucrative electricity markets, both in the Middle East.
As the global power industry becomes increasingly top-heavy, particularly in Europe where it has reached saturation point, the huge markets of Saudi Arabia and Iraq are increasingly more inviting. This has been a major factor in the selling out of space in record time of Middle East Electricity, a regional expo for the industry, which will be held in Dubai February 15-18.
Demand by Saudi Arabia's rapidly growing population is increasing stress on electric utilities as power needs grow by 4.5 percent or more each year. And for obviously vastly different reasons, electricity remains one of the biggest problems in Iraq.
Before the war, the country's ageing power stations were operating at a level far below what was needed to fulfill demand. Baghdad was a long beneficiary of the nation's power grid with Saddam Hussein diverting the energy so that the city had almost constant power. Other parts of the country, however, had to work on a three hours on, three hours off, basis.
Due to the war, bombing and looting reduced the country's electricity supply by about 30 percent. While output throughout Iraq has been boosted in the last few months it is still not yet half the 7,000 mega watts needed to give everyone electricity 24 hours a day.
Privatization of Saudi Arabia's electricity sector is under consideration and along these lines an independent Electricity Regulatory Authority was set up by Saudi Arabia's Supreme Economic Council two years ago. The authority's brief is to 'regulate electricity services' in the country as part of an overall move towards restructuring the power sector.
Over 700 exhibitors will occupy space at the Middle East Electricity Exhibition which will be held at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre. Regulars are bolstering their presence and the line-up features many newcomers. Over 400 product areas will be on display.
Middle East Electricity is fully supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE)' Ministry of Electricity and Water and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority. Running alongside the exhibition will be the ninth Annual Middle East Power Generation Summit. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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