'Gulf Offers Excellent Investment Opportunity in Energy Sector'

Sharjah, Jan 29 (IANS) The energy sector in the Gulf region is well placed to develop clean and affordable energy sources, as the world focuses on developing new technologies to deal with the effects of global warming, WAM news agency reported citing an energy expert.

"The sector is excellently placed to engage with emerging opportunities that will ensure growth and prosperity," Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Investments, an investment company with interests in the energy sector, said in an interview Thursday.

"In the wake of the (global financial) crisis, companies are forced to re-evaluate their objectives and strategies," he said. "Companies in the energy sector are no exception."

Now increasingly, companies and governments are seeking alternative "green" sources of power, in line with the global movement to reduce greenhouse emissions.

While much of the focus has been on wind, water, and solar power, another energy source -- natural gas -- should not be overlooked.

"Gas is an efficient, clean, cheap energy source and is abundant in the Gulf region. With Gulf Cooperation Council members holding approximately 23 percent of the world's proven gas reserves," explains Jafar.

"Power plants driven by natural gas cost less than half that of nuclear plants, emit less than half the CO2 emissions of coal and can be built at a material scale faster than any other power source," he said.

"The UAE is emerging as a global hub for clean energy. For example, Abu Dhabi, Masdar City project will be the world's first carbon-neutral zero-waste city and was chosen last year as the future global headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

"As the world focuses on the UAE and the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) scheduled this week, now is an excellent time for energy companies to explore investment opportunities.

"We can expect investment opportunities in the energy sector in the course of 2010," he adds.

"With increasing populations and demands for energy and technology, this is definitely a sector set for growth for many years to come.

"Natural gas demand among the Gulf Cooperation Council members increased by 72 percent over the last decade, and is expected to grow faster in future. There is a potential for hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in the natural gas industry across the region," said Jafar.



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