Total energy investments in the Middle East and North Africa could approach the US$1 trillion mark over the course of five years, according to the latest edition of the MENA Energy Investments Outlook published by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation, APICORP. This is in spite of uncertainties that have been clouding the regional outlook.
While global investments in the industry continued their decline in 2016, down by 24 percent as compared to 2015, the MENA region is expected to see an increase of 7 percent in energy investment activity compared to data of the previous year.
Based on this evidence, the APICORP research team is cautiously optimistic for the MENA region. Governments continue to make investments in the energy sector a priority, and it is expected that a number of critical projects will be executed and completed successfully over the course of the next five years. Plans for power projects are at the top of the five-year agenda in many countries.
A total of US$337 billion had already been committed to projects under execution at the end of the previous year. With an additional US$622 billion worth of developments in the planning stage, the committed and planned investments could add up to US$959 billion over a five-year period, compared to US$900 billion in 2015.
Planned investments increased by 2 percent, whereas committed investments increased by 17 percent. This represents the transition of some projects and investments from the planned to committed phase.
The total of US$337 billion of committed investments for the five-year period is divided into investments in the oil sector at US$121 billion, gas investments at US$108 billion, power investments at US$91 billion and chemicals at US$17 billion. The GCC represents US$174 billion in committed investments, more than 50 percent of the MENA total.
Among the US$622 billion worth of planned investments over a five-year period, the power sector accounts for the largest share at US$207 billion. The oil and gas sector will represent US$195 billion and US$159 billion respectively, with the remaining investments in petrochemicals. The APICORP report reveals that, at US$289 billion, projects under study constitute the largest portion of planned investments.
Commenting on the report, Dr. Raed Al-Rayes, Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager of APICORP, said, "Having recently witnessed one of the biggest drops in history, investments in oil and gas are still struggling to recover on a global level. However, there are clear signs for an upturn, and we have found that energy investments in the MENA region over a five-year period are ahead of the trend."