Saudi Eastern Region Gov inaugurates GCC-Iraq Electricity Platform

17 Oct 2023
Saudi Eastern Region Gov inaugurates GCC-Iraq Electricity Platform

GCC electrical interconnection project’s goal is to preserve energy security while enhancing integration among the GCC countries; platform opens opportunities for electricity exchange as the project continues to build infrastructure

As reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) last week, Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region, Saudi Arabia, inaugurated the project platform for interconnecting the GCC Electricity Market with the Republic of Iraq. The event occurred at the headquarters of the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) in Dammam last week.

Platform for regional energy trade
Yaqoob Al-Kiyumi, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Gulf Interconnection Authority, emphasized that the project's launch fulfils one of the authority's key objectives, introducing a platform for the Gulf Market Electricity Connection Project with the Republic of Iraq.

It also opens up opportunities in the Gulf market for the exchange and trade of electrical energy between GCC countries and the Republic of Iraq. This development further facilitates bilateral or multilateral agreements between the GCC countries and Iraq, as the project establishes the necessary infrastructure to transmit electrical energy.

Engineer Ahmed Al-Ebrahim, CEO of the GCCIA, said the electricity connection project would save Iraq around $100 million when using liquefied natural gas or $215 million when using oil for power generation, as reported on the Saudi Projects website.

He added that the Authority is actively working to expedite the activation of the Gulf Electricity Market, with the aim of enhancing the exchange and trade of electric power among member states. To achieve this, the Authority continues to develop a platform for energy trade in the GCC electricity market, a program designed by the Authority’s professional team. In its initial phase, this program aims to encourage the establishment of daily contracts for energy trade among member states, similar to global electricity markets.

The Eastern Region Governor Prince Abdulaziz stressed that the GCC electrical interconnection project aims to preserve energy security and enhance integration among the GCC countries for the benefit of the GCC citizens.

He said: “Energy security is of great importance at the level of the countries of the world as the backbone of life. Energy generation has become not limited to traditional roads and sources, there is nuclear and renewable energy, and we hope to launch and expand to further horizons, and to include other countries”.

Proximity, trade and sustainability

Prince Abdulaziz highlighted the efforts of officials in charge of the GCCIA, recognizing their contribution to enhancing energy security and their commitment to embodying it through their continuous presence in the networks of GCC countries and participating nations. Moreover, the launch of the platform indicates a step towards fostering good neighbourly relations with the Republic of Iraq, driven by geographical proximity.

An IEA report, published in 2019, showed that Iraq’s electricity demand is set to double between now and 2030, and its shortfall in electricity supply will widen, as the country’s population grows by more than 1 million people each year. Without changes to the current structure of electricity supply and improvements to the network, domestic generation, imports and neighbourhood generation would need to double by 2030, for a total supply of over 250-Terawatt hour (TWh).

Energy & Utilities (E&U) had reported that Saudi Arabia and Iraq signed an agreement for electricity interconnection last year.

Another report by E&U revealed that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) had proposed a 2nd loan for a Gulf interconnection expansion project on top of last year’s loan to Iraq.

David Haziri contributed reporting

Photo credit: GCCSG

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