The Sultanate of Oman, along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are set to strongly position the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bloc as a leading exporter of clean energy – green hydrogen in particular – to the global market, according to a new report released against the backdrop of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) last week.
The report, titled ‘Green Energy – Going Beyond the Grid’, is based on a whitepaper put together by well-known business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. It notes that the GCC region is on the cusp on a major green energy revolution as member states explore energy sustainability through a combination of renewable energy integration, energy-efficiency implementations and hydrogen production and transport.
“Hydrogen has gained increasing recognition as a key contributor to the evolution of the energy sector and is expected to play a key role in decarbonising the economy across end-use sectors in the GCC,” says the report. It adds: “GCC countries, especially the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman, are working on national strategies aimed at developing the hydrogen market in the region and positioning themselves as future hydrogen exporters.”
GCC countries currently use large quantities of natural gas-based grey hydrogen, and the availability of low-cost natural gas coupled with the ease of carbon capture, utilisation and storage allows for the cost-competitive production of blue hydrogen though the GCC has several competitive advantages to play a key role in the global green hydrogen economy. These advantages include solar and wind resources, financial capabilities, and export potential.
“Not only does the region have strong connectivity with developed economies in Europe, but a network of ports and pipeline infrastructure provides the region access to fast-growing markets in Asia and Africa. These trade routes and connectivity are expected to play a key role in hydrogen transportation, which would prove critical in meeting end-user demand for the fuel as future large demand markets such as Europe and Japan could face challenges in ramping up hydrogen production to meet demand requirements,” says the report.
The report recommends the region acts quickly to leverage a first-mover advantage and commit investments to achieve future cost competitiveness in the wake of rising competition from regions in North Africa, Europe, and Australia.
“Working cohesively and orchestrating efforts between the government and industry is the best way for the region to achieve an energy transition while yielding the highest impacts and optimizing efforts and investments. There is a wide range of opportunities available through business models and technologies that can meet the bespoke needs of all of the stakeholders in the GCC. All of the building blocks are now available in the form of enabling technologies, abundant solutions, finance availability and a need for change. The region is well poised to go beyond investing in grid-specific renewables and contribute to a sustainable future,” the report added in conclusion.
The World Future Energy Summit was hosted by Masdar as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, a global platform for accelerating the world’s sustainable development.