Infoscience

Thesis

Energy Strategy Formation in the Middle East and North Africa Using a Technology-Driven Energy Planning Approach: Application to the Case of Ras Al Kaimah

The constituent countries of the MENA region---defined in this thesis in conformity with the regional definition of the International Energy Agency and encompassing 17 Muslim countries in North Africa, in the Levant, on the Arabian Peninsula, and Iran---have developed very rapidly over the past decade. Two figures best exemplify the region's tremendous transformation: Total population has expanded by more than 20% and its aggregate economic output has more than doubled. As much as this development is desirable, said development trends have also dramatically reshaped the energy policy environment in the MENA region and began causing problems of their own---affecting the region's large oil exporters and its energy importers alike. Having traditionally enjoyed high energy security and handsome resource rents by virtue of their abundant and cheap fossil fuels, new realities in the domestic energy systems demand a new policy focus on domestic energy issues. Energy challenges have emerged which threaten security of supply, fiscal stability, and environmental integrity. The challenges differ in magnitude from country-to-country and reflect the specific national conditions and circumstances. However, given the similarity in the underlying drivers and the governing energy policies, the energy challenges resemble each other across borders. More specifically, ballooning domestic energy demand consumes a rising share of national energy production and thus increasingly imperils the constant flow of the much needed proceeds from oil and gas exports. In the MENA countries with less abundant hydrocarbon resources, domestic demand growth has heightened energy dependence and, to make matters worse, the tighter supply situation in the energy exporting neighbors may eventually also lead to a discontinuation of the preferential supply agreements which they have benefitted from in the past. As a further corollary of demand growth, massive capital-intensive infrastructure investments are necessary to keep pace with the growth on the demand side. The regional tradition to sell energy commodities domestically at prices non-competitive prices or even below cost, however, limits the national energy sectors' own capability of mustering the required capital. Finally, the universally observable heavily fossil fuel-dominated national energy mixes in the region render the study countries vulnerable to supply shocks. The virtually complete reliance on the regionally available hydrocarbons for meeting energy demand is also a principal contributor to environmental degradation and at the core of the large carbon footprint of energy consumption in MENA countries. Given current policies in combination with the emerging demographic and economic trends, these challenges must be expected to become more severe in the years to come. Rising living standards, especially in the region's expanding urban population, are likely to boost per capita energy consumption. The projected, continued demographic and economic growth will further drive commodity demand. And the supply side cannot be counted on to mitigate the challenges under given policies. On the contrary. Although no reliable production projections are available, it stands to reason that production from the region's most prolific oil and gas fields---some of which have been producing for several decades now---will increasingly require the use of costly secondary and tertiary recovery methods and that some will eventually [...]

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