Hydrogen economy for sustainable development in GCC countries: A SWOT analysis considering current situation, challenges, and prospects

Muhammad Imran Khan, Sami Al-Ghamdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The increasingly serious threat of climate change caused by the excessive use of fossil fuels have been prompting GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries to aggressively seek a clean energy source in the future. Recently GCC countries announced their carbon emission targets e.g. Saudi Arabia & Bahrain's net-zero emissions by 2060, UAE and Oman net-zero emissions by 2050, Qatar 25% and Kuwait 7.4% reduction by 2035. In recent years, governments and energy companies across the world alike are placing large wagers on hydrogen, in an effort to lower emissions. Therefore, to achieve these long term stated emission targets of GCC countries, Hydrogen Economy is one of the areas where efforts must be ramped up. However, there are currently numerous obstacles to the scaled and to substitute the revenue of fossil fuel exports with green hydrogen economy in Gulf countries, such as high production costs of green hydrogen, a lack of infrastructure, storage and transportation problems, regulation and the necessary demand in the indigenous end-user sectors. The aim of this study is to analyze the existing obstacles and future prospects of hydrogen economy in GCC region using SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis approach. The results shows that GCC countries have the resources and opportunity to be a leader in hydrogen, but will need to take risks if it wants to compete globally. The uptake of hydrogen in short- and midterm will largely be based on blue hydrogen, however as it is expected a substantial fall green hydrogen production cost by 2030, it is therefore in the long term green hydrogen production offers the major route for the GCC, based on natural endowments. It is revealed that the scale and growth of the hydrogen economy in GCC countries will largely depend on external factors (i.e., global hydrogen adoption and demand) beyond their control.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10315-10344
Number of pages30
Issue number28
StatePublished - Mar 3 2023


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