Yemen to increase energy budget [Archives:2007/1067/Local News]

July 12 2007

SANA'A, July 11 ) Minister of Electricity and Energy Dr. Mustafa Bahran has indicated that the country's power generation strategy will see a fundamental shift in focus, he stated that the government is currently undergoing negotiations with several American, Canadian, and French companies in order to build nuclear power plants in Yemen, which will be managed by the respective companies while the government will play only an intermediate roles and deliver the generated power to the end user.

The Minister stated that preliminary research indicates that Yemen will save up to 75 percent of the current power generation costs. He also added that the concept of using nuclear technology to produce energy is becoming more viable in the light of decline in Yemen's natural resources and the global surge in Oil & Gas prices.

Sources at the Ministry of Electricity and Energy has indicated that the Ministry is finalizing plans with two companies, an American and a Canadian, to set up a nuclear power plant in Yemen, adding that the Ministry will soon sign a contract to purchase five thousand mega watts of energy for a period of ten years, with more of what such contracts are currently being drafted, in order to phase out the current power generation infrastructure towards Nuclear power generation, indicating that the contracts will have a B.O.T system in which ownership of these nuclear power plants will be transferred to the government after a defined period of time.

Bahran also stated that his Ministry will increase the national coverage area from the current 50 percent to 70 – 90 percent within the next two years, adding that he has been informed that the government will give priority to investing in power infrastructure in next year's budget. He also stated that there is a strong emphasis on the importance of energy for national development as well as nuclear technology from the political leadership, especially after the recent visit of his Excellency President Ali Abdullah Saleh to France, where he has visited a nuclear power station and discussed the pros and cons of such technology.