x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Maskari Holding in $3bn Libya energy plan

The Abu Dhabi company is behind a project to build an "energy hub" and develop an undersea cable to export electricity to Europe.

Abu Dhabi's Al Maskari Holding is behind a US$3 billion (Dh11.01bn) project to build an integrated "energy hub" in Libya and to develop an undersea cable for exporting electricity to Europe.

The project will include solar power and conventional electricity generation from fuels such as natural gas, and a high-voltage undersea transmission line from Libya to southern Italy.

An agreement for the project was signed in Tripoli on December 12, said Sirajeldean Elbadri, an official with the chairman's office of the Libyan general board of privatisation and investment.

"Libya is a source for clean energy. We can export energy to all of Europe. When Russia does not send gas, we hope we can send this energy to Europe by having cables under the sea from the north of Libya to the south of Europe," Jamal Ellamushe, the Libyan minister of privatisation and investment, told an investment forum in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Sheikha Aisha al Maskari, the chairwoman of the family-owned Al Maskari Holding, said the group was interested in investing in all sectors of Libya's energy industry, including solar energy. Al Maskari's involvement in renewable-energy development includes a 20-year project with the Norwegian government, she said.

The company intends to invest in the energy hub venture in Libya, which is planned to include a large solar element, under the government's privatisation programme, Dr al Maskari said on the sidelines of the meeting in the capital. She declined to give further details.

"We are concentrating on the solar market in Libya. They have the best solar resources in the world," Dr al Maskari continued.

"We would also like to be partners in industry in Libya," she said. "There is a partnership between the public and private sectors there. We have seen the support in Libya, where we have had a factory for 20 years.

"The surprise for me when we visited Libya was the hospitality and the humbleness of the people," she said of her first visit to the country.

After 10 years working with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in various aspects of petroleum development and management, Dr al Maskari, a geophysicist by training, in 1989 assumed the chair of her family's company Tricon Energy Operations. She is currently chairwoman of the UAE parent company Tricon Group and the affiliated Al Maskari Holding. The latter group's operations include oil and gas services, power generation, desalination and water treatment, and environmental consulting.

tcarlisle@thenational.ae