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Sun 23 Mar 2008 12:02 PM

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$120bn needed to solve power, water crisis

Rising power demand and falling water supplies spurring crisis, expert warns.

Gulf states are expected to invest around $120 billion over the next decade in order to address the region's rapidly approaching water and power shortage crisis, according to an energy expert.

Neil Walker, of UK-based Benoil Services, said the huge sums of money were needed to address soaring demand for electricity and water caused by an rising power consumption, falling potable water supplies and rapidly expanding populations.

“With all the GCC countries requiring significant growth in the power and water sectors, an estimated $120 billion investment is anticipated in the industry over the next 10 years,” Walker said, quoted state news agency Wam.

Walker’s comments follow a report released by the Middle East Economic Digest (Meed) warned of an imminent power and water shortage crisis.

The report, released earlier this month, identified a serious supply and demand imbalance caused by a lack of infrastructure investment earlier in the decade and cautioned that the Gulf’s booming economies were likely to suffer if the situation is not quickly remedied.

Walker said last year Gulf states needed to invest $45.6 billion over the next 10 years to need growing demand for power.

He said Saudi Arabia would invest some $30 billion, the UAE $8 billion and Kuwait $3.6 billion, while Qatar would invest $3 billion, Bahrain $1 billion and Oman $800 million.

The GCC is currently building a Gulf power grid that will connect the six member states, paving the way for a regional electricity market. The grid will come online in early 2009.

The grid is expected to go some way to helping meet demand for power as record oil revenues fuel an economic boom in the region.

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