COP28 – Focus on our activities in Gulf countries

By ENGIE - 08 December 2023 - 15:43

With COP28 taking place in Dubai, we shed a light on our activities in the region.


The 28th conference of parties (COP28) is taking place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Expo City Dubai, where ENGIE has based its Dubai office. The Group has been active in the Gulf region for over 30 years. At the time of its inception, it was the first private independent developer for electricity generation. Today, it boasts a significant footprint, with nearly 30 GW of energy production capacity. “Our long history and track record here entails two strategic advantages: good knowledge of the region and strong ties with industrial and financial partners”, explains Tomaz Guadagnin, Managing Director Flex Gen AMEA and Country Manager for GCC and Pakistan.


In the Middle East, water scarcity is a huge challenge, making desalination the primary means of obtaining fresh water. ENGIE is leader in this field, co-owning and operating 18 power and desalination plants across the Gulf countries which deliver 7 million cubic meters per day of clean, potable water to over 10.6 million people across the region. Notably, 8 of those plants use reverse osmosis. This technology can use electric power generated by renewables, instead of solely relying on the steam produced by natural gas power plants, which entails a much lower carbon footprint. 

Desalination is the most advanced of our strategic axes, the other ones being battery storage, renewables, and low-carbon hydrogen”, Tomaz Guadagnin said.


Center of Excellence

On December 10th at COP28, ENGIE will be launching its Desalination Center of Excellence, which aims to secure access to sustainable water for people so that future generations flourish and live in harmony.  Through the center, ENGIE endeavors to unleash the group desalination know-how and experience to drive strategic and operational decisions.
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ENGIE has ambitions to develop a sizable renewable footprint in the Gulf region and has submitted several offers over the past months. The development of Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will be instrumental to the integration of the renewables in the grid, bringing flexibility and stability. 


Renewable H2 also proves promising as Gulf countries feature an abundance of available land and untapped renewables potential. “Obviously, solar energy has a great potential in our countries. We also have strong winds in East of Oman and West of Saudi Arabia”, Tomaz Guadagnin added. Hence, this provides an opportunity to develop low-carbon hydrogen based on electrolysis. Despite being in the early stages of development, this technology has the potential to become a game-changer for industries such as ammonia, chemicals, and steel, as well as for e-fuels, once it achieves industrial-scale implementation. In the UAE, ENGIE is collaborating with Masdar, a leading developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects, to create a renewable hydrogen hub targeting 2 GW capacity by 2030. In Saudi Arabia, the Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to jointly explore renewable H2 opportunities for export purposes. In Oman, the ENGIE and POSCO led Consortium has been awarded a Green Ammonia project of up to a 1.2mtpa to be exported to Korea by 2030. The project will include up to 5 GW of new wind and solar capacity, BESS, and a renewable hydrogen plant with a capacity of up to 200 kiloton per annum. 


Finally, our Energy Solutions business, which employs 3,000 people in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The Energy Solutions business in the Gulf countries is the benchmark for health and safety within ENGIE, thanks to a particular focus on operational safety. As a latest example, our Saudi subsidiary won a long-term concession for the district cooling of King Salman Park in Riyadh.


The historical exposure provided by COP28 will significantly enhance the impact and visibility of all these activities.