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The role of Energy Networks in Regional Integration


The cooperation in the energy field is considered as one of the fundamental themes in international relations, and for the past fifty years, more than one region in the world has witnessed oriented support towards regional cooperation by interconnecting the electricity networks and establishment of gas networks.
The energy sector in the Arab region, including the ESCWA region, is considered as the main sector contributing to the development needs and national economies of many countries, but the availability of energy resources of oil and gas varies between countries in the region, and the demand for electric power is increasing significantly. This represents a major challenge for countries in the region, and requires motivating the cooperation among them to achieve integration in the provision of their needs for energy and electricity resources. Therefore, during the past two decades, the Arab States took into consideration proceeding with the adoption of policies and procedures necessary to strengthen regional cooperation in the field of energy, particularly in the electricity and gas sectors, since the expansion of the electricity networks and optimizing the use of natural gas reserves consist a strategic investment that can achieve economic integration among Arab countries, and facilitate their integration into the global energy markets, especially the European ones.
The Arab countries have made constant efforts in this area, which were reflected in planning and implementing several electrical interconnection projects, in particular: The Eight Electrical Interconnection Project, the GCC Electrical Interconnection project, the Maghreb Electrical Interconnection project… etc., and in the area of gas networks, there is the Arab gas pipeline project, the Dolphin project, the Maghreb & European Union pipeline project.... etc.
The reaffirmation of the Arab leaders on the importance of energy networks projects was reflected in the «Kuwait Declaration – Upgrading the standard of living of the Arab citizen, issued by the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Kuwait on January 20, 2009», on «strengthening Arab cooperation in the field of energy, as a means to achieve sustainable development and enhancing the existing electricity networks of the Arab electricity, and the establishment of Arab market for electric power, as well as enhancing the natural gas networks and its expansion, etc. ... ».