Private vogue loses some of its lustre

09 August 1996

BAHRAIN'S decision earlier this year to abandon plans for a private power plant sponsored by British Gas demonstrated how difficult it can be to abandon old ways of doing things. So far, private power projects have made only a minor impression in the Gulf region and they are hardly being encouraged, with the notable exception of Oman.

Private power schemes are having an impact elsewhere with Pakistan providing a successful blueprint that other countries could emulate. Indeed, Pakistan has been so inundated with investment proposals that it has been obliged to cancel projects that it approved only recently. In the Arab world, Morocco has gone further than any other country to move generation into the private sector and negotiate long-term concessions with independent generators. Egypt is starting the process of moving in the same direction to meet longer-term needs.

Yet, as the country survey below illustrates, demand growth in the region remains substan tial, ensuring a constant need for new capacity. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, supply and demand are delicately poised, requiring significant annual additions to capacity. Below, MEED writers identify opportunities and examine policy around the region.

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