Energy Answers for the Middle East

The economy of Middle East is practically synonymous with crude oil for the average Western observer, but what most people aren’t aware of is the Middle East hasn’t been doing so well out of its crude oil reserves in recent years. So much so, that it may be the first time in history that we can justifiably declare an imminent state of Peak Oil in these regions. It is an understandably bold statement, and one that will come as a surprise to many… especially those who have been blindsided by the more general, global statistics. Besides a slight dip over … Continue reading

Fracking and Its Implications

Fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing, is a method to stimulate or improve fluid flow from rocks in the subsurface. Advancements in extraction technologies have enabled drillers to reach previously inaccessible gas in geological formations The technique involves pumping water-rich fluid into a borehole until the fluid pressure at depth causes the rock to fracture. The pumped fluid contains small particles, such as quartz-rich sand or chemicals, which serve to prop open the fractures. After the fracking job, the pressure in the well is dropped and the water containing released natural gas flows back to the well head at the surface. Fracking … Continue reading

Energy-efficient Building Envelopes in Oman – A Study

In Oman, extreme hot weather conditions and thermally inefficient building envelopes have led to high cooling loads in residential units. Residential buildings serve a smaller number of occupants per unit, when compared to other sectors in the building industry. Also, mechanical, electrical and other energy-intensive equipment are relatively lesser in quantity and complexity. Yet, as per statistics, the residential sector is the largest consumer of electricity in the industry. In Oman, the residential sector consumes most of the electricity produced, with over 70 % of the load contributed by cooling using air conditioners (Zurigat et al., 2003). A major reason … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Oman

Solid waste management is a challenging issue for the Sultanate of Oman because of limited land availability and adverse impacts on environment and public health. With population of almost 3.9 million inhabitants, Oman generates more than 1.7 million tons of solid waste each year. The average per capita waste generation is more than 1.2 kg per day, which is equivalent to about 4700 tons of municipal waste every day. Solid waste in Oman is characterized by very high percentage of recyclables, primarily paper and cardboard (15%), plastics (20.9%), metals (1.8%) and glass (4%) (Source: Waste Characterization and Quantification Survey, Be’ah, 2013). However the country is … Continue reading

Strategizing Water Security in the GCC to Meet the Needs of a Growing Population

Water security has become an increasingly hot topic in the GCC as regional governments struggle to meet the water needs of a rapidly increasing population. If population and development levels maintain their fast-paced upward trajectory, so too will the demand for water, food, and energy increase at the same rate. The Gulf region as a whole remains geographically handicapped in the sense no major rivers flow through it, and it possesses few renewable aquifer endowments. Therefore, there is an urgent need for these states to manage their scarce water resources efficiently. Currently, the states rely heavily on groundwater sources, followed … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh. Current Scenario The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an … Continue reading

Solar Energy in Oman: Potential and Progress

Solar energy is a vital and strategic solution for the provision of electric power in the Sultanate of Oman. Given the vast unused land and available solar energy resources, Oman has an excellent potential for solar energy development and deployment. Solar energy is a viable option in Oman and could not only cater to the growing need for energy diversification but also would help in economic diversification. With a total dependence on fossil fuels and increasing population combined with rapid industrialization in cities such as Duqm, Sohar and Salalah, Oman’s power infrastructure and hydrocarbon reserves pose a challenge on the economic … Continue reading

Waste Management Perspectives for Oman

Globalization and modernization have led to increased consumption among the Omani population. Reportedly, the average Omani household throws away one-third of the food it purchases. Conspicuous consumption fuelled by peer pressure and effective advertising brings more goods and products into the home than the family members can actually make use of. And along with the increase in merchandise comes a lot of extra packaging. Product packaging now accounts for the bulk of what is thrown into household rubbish bins. The urge to keep pace with what one’s neighbours, relatives and peers acquire means higher rates of consumption: a new mobile … Continue reading

Gas Flaring and Venting in MENA: Need for Urgent Action

Every year global oil producers waste precious natural gas by flaring and venting equivalent to the combined gas consumption of Central and South America. The top twenty major gas flaring and venting countries in the world include Russia, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Venezuela, Qatar, Algeria, the United States, Kuwait, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Congo, the United Kingdom, and Gabon. Gas flaring and venting have been known to be associated with crude oil processing in oil fields. Newer oil wells are equipped for the recovery of both oil well gas and crude oil and hence the gas … Continue reading

Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and … Continue reading

Ecotourism in the Middle East

Ecotourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the global tourism industry and the Middle East is no exception. The ecotourism industry, catalyzed by advancements in transportation and information technology, has brought hitherto unknown geographical landscapes into public limelight, thus bringing tourists to pristine natural locations across the Middle East. Middle East has also been witnessing growing popularity of ecotourism among native and expatriate populations. Some of the Middle East nations popular with ecotourists include Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Oman and Tunisia. Due to its sunny climate, unique landscape, distinct culture and rich history, the region offers wealth of … Continue reading

Environmental Awareness in Arab Countries: A Survey

A public opinion survey carried out by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development in 22 Arab countries revealed that a vast majority, exceeding 60 percent, believes that the environment has deteriorated in their countries over the last 10 years. An even bigger majority of 95 percent thinks that their country is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges. The questionnaire, circulated via internet in cooperation with Arab media outlets and conducted on a self-completion basis, attracted 20,460 responses from across the Arab region. Respondents who thought that the environmental situation has worsened comprised 60 percent, reflecting findings of a … Continue reading