RESILIENCE SOLIDIFIED

Qatar 2019 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

Nebras Power is one of many companies that have come out stronger in the face of the blockade, increasing investments in sustainable energies and devising global expansion plans.

Khalid Mohammed Jolo
BIOGRAPHY
Khalid Mohammed Jolo has more than 20 years of experience in the power and utilities sector and has been leading Nebras Power since December 2014. Prior to that, while heading the QEWC’s Business Development team, he was responsible for leading critical development projects in and outside Qatar, including Ras Abu Fontas-B1 (375MW), Ras Abu Fontas-B2 (550MW + 33MIGD), Ras Abu Fontas-A1 (45MIGD) in Qatar, Sur IPP (2000MW) in Oman, and IPP4 (370MW) in Jordan. He is Chairman of the Board of Phoenix Power Company (Oman) and Shams Ma’an Power Generation (Jordan). He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Ras Girtas Power Company, Ras Laffan Power Company, and Siraj Energy. Jolo is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Qatar University.

What have been the most important recent developments in your international investment portfolio?

The main development has been the signing of a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with Indonesian power utilities Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) and PT Pembangkitan Jawa-Bali (PJB) in October 2017. This agreement relates to the joint development of an 800-MW greenfield gas-fired power plant complete with a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Medan, Indonesia. Notably, it will be one of the first gas-to-power (GTP) projects in the world. We are still focused on our target of adding 800MW of power to our capacity every year, which currently stands at around 4.5GW. Our investment in the Paiton Project in Indonesia at the end of 2016 was an extremely significant event for us, and subsequently we successfully arranged refinancing within a record six months from the acquisition, bringing back to Nebras nearly USD600 million. This USD2.75 billion refinancing was the biggest for the power sector in Southeast Asia in 2017 and was recognized by many international media and financing publications. Outside of the fast-growing Southeast Asian market, we are also working on developing and acquiring projects in other areas. The Middle East continues to be a key market for Nebras Power, but it is actively looking at a number of opportunities in other markets. We have been looking at North and South America as potential areas for investment and are actively involved in pursuing projects, specifically in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. We are also interested in opportunities in both North and sub-Saharan Africa, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, and South Africa.

What has been the impact of the blockade on Qatar's economy, more specifically on the utilities and power sector?

Qatar's economy has proven to be resilient, and there has been no measurable impact of the blockade. We have seen economic growth comparable to other countries in the region and have actually fared better than some of our neighbors. The only impact on Nebras Power is that the markets of the blockading countries are no longer available to us. However, we are able to invest in many other areas of the globe, so the blockade has not truly harmed our operations. At present, our parent company QEWC has a few active projects in Qatar. One is the Facility E project, which involves the installation of a combined cycle power plant with a capacity in the range of 2,000-2,500MW and a net water production capacity in the range of 100-130 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD). There is a large appetite from international investors for such projects in Qatar, illustrating how little impact the blockade has had. There has not been any slowdown in growth due to the blockade or the oil crisis. Qatar has applied the 2030 National Vision in an effective way. The addition of these two power projects is a clear indication of the growth path Qatar is on, which are needed in order to keep pace with future power demand.

What is your vision with regard to the transition to clean energy, and what projects do you have in the pipeline in this regard?

One thing we closed in 2017 was a 52-MW solar power project in Jordan. It will be our second solar power project, which underlines the importance of clean energy projects to Nebras Power. The future is in renewables, and we want to increasingly concentrate our investments in this area. We are interested in both wind and solar, though we have not yet been able to land a project in the wind sector. We see gas as another form of clean energy, and regardless of developments within the renewable space, the world cannot stop having a baseload solution, for which gas is the most suitable. We are, therefore, focusing on two things in parallel: renewables and gas-to-power solutions. The latter is a trend that more and more countries are moving toward.