Prospects and Future of Reforms: Fuel Mix Options
Electricity reforms are not in contradiction with a fuel diversification policy, but introducing new fuels and new technologies (renewables for instance) would require the State to intervene directly or indirectly. Regulation will play a critical role and changes in fuel offerings will require a delicate balancing act. They will test all already established market models in the region and will challenge decisions to deregulate further. Out of the 18 countries in MENA, 12 are hydrocarbons exporters (8 of which are OPEC countries). Hydrocarbons dominate the fuel mix, and natural gas has been considered as the fuel of choice for power generation. But natural gas will need to be complemented by other fuel sources. In some countries, oil-fired generation continues to prevail, while other alternatives are considered: renewables, nuclear and coal. Evolving fuel prices could be viewed as challenging for any introduction of an additional degree of deregulation. The transition is meant to accompany the country as it transforms from a fuel exporter to a fuel monetizer and then to a mature economy.