Tunis- Tunisia’s Energy Minister Hela Cheikhrouhou, also tasked with the African country’s renewable energy programs, has revealed that national power production has been in steady decline over the last few years.
“Tunisia consumes twice as much as energy it produces,” Cheikhrouhou said.
She added that there was a pressing call for developing investments in green energies to fill in the present demand and supply gap.
As for the decline in foreign investment promptness, Cheikhrouhou said that a foreign investor fears losing money going to geological inspection and research in the case of failing further activity. More so, the stringent Tunisian parliament processing in order to get an inspection permit plays a role in discouraging foreign investment.
A number of investors fear to suffer losses during red-tape measures, despite the transparency of Tunisian transactions in the field of energy, added the energy minister.
Energy investment has been increasing in cost in Tunisia, with a government-linked institution getting hold of 50 percent investments, energy sector sources said.
In response to declining foreign investments in the energy field, oil companies’ contributions to the national budget went below the average 3 billion Tunisian dinars (about $1.2 billion) between 2009 and 2010.
Oil revenues are expected to drop as low as one billion Tunisian dinars (about $400 million) in 2017. It is worth noting that 80 percent of oil returns fund the Tunisian state treasury.
Speaking on oil production, Cheikhrouhou confirmed that over the last six years, production rates have nearly been halved.
Tunisia’s oil companies today produce about 40,000 bpd and an equivocal quantity of natural gas, after production having previously registered 80,000 bpd.
The minister explained that organized distribution of oil byproducts provides 15,000 jobs throughout Tunisia, and can create an additional 500 jobs.
On May 11, the energy ministry announced a request for proposals to invest over 210 megawatts of renewable energies.