Saudi Arabia aims at 150 billion in investments in energy diversification
12 June 2019

Over the next five years, the investments committed or planned by the countries of the Middle East and North Africa in the energy sector will amount to one trillion dollars. Driving them is the growth in demand for electricity, gas, the petrochemical sector and renewable energy. This is what emerges from the research of the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), the development bank that has just published the «Mena Annual Energy Investment Outlook 2019».
Investments over five years are up by 5% compared to the investment prospects of Apicorp last year and this is thanks to the fact that the energy sector in these areas has embarked on a path of transition. Of all the investments estimated up to 2023, the largest share – 35% equal to about 350 billion dollars – is destined for the electricity sector, followed by the oil sector with $304 billion. Investments in gas are expected to reach $186 billion, while the petrochemical sector will go to $123 billion.
Across the Mena region, the share of private sector funding has increased from 20 to 22 percent from previous surveys, with Tunisia and Morocco reaching 68 percent. Among the major regional producers of crude oil, the UAE has a significant private sector penetration with 30 percent.
Saudi Arabia has the largest number of investments planned and committed between 2019 and 2023 – 148 billion dollars in total – including 37 billion dollars in projects already underway and 111 billion dollars planned for the future.
The kingdom has decided to invest heavily in energy, not only in the traditional hydrocarbon sector, but also in renewables to achieve greater diversification of the energy mix. It has already begun to shift from burning crude to gas-fired power plants. In its 2019 budget, Riyadh allocated 8.8 billion dollars that will go to the energy, industrial, mining and logistics sectors. An amount three times higher than in the previous maneuver.
In March, the government announced a gigantic project to exploit solar energy in the province of Mecca: Al Faisaliah Solar Project, a 2.6 GW photovoltaic plant that re-launches national ambitions in terms of renewable sources. The project is in line with the Vision 2030 plan and with the efforts of the Ministry of Energy to diversify the energy system.