Dr. Shihab Elborai

Based in Dubai, Dr. Shihab Elborai is a Strategy& partner and a member of the Energy, Chemicals, and Utilities practice.  For 10 years, he has served major energy players across the GCC, the Middle East, and North Africa on issues related to strategy, energy policy, sector governance, and regulatory framework design.  He also has helped large public sector entities and state-owned enterprises improve their operating model and organizational structure.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Acting as the interim leader for power investments in a government owned GCC industrial development company to negotiate a pipeline of advanced power generation equipment and services localization JV deals with investments totaling 1.1 Bn USD. Lead the implementation of entire investment cycle for 5 JVs from identification to financial closing.
  • Assessed economics and local content development opportunities of power generation and water desalination sectors with a focus on solar, wind and nuclear technologies for a GCC government’s energy authority. Designed an investment planning forecasting tool to assess the trade-offs between direct and indirect financing options as well as the macro-economic impact of local content policies.
  • Developed a local content and industrial value chain development policy for a 9+ GW renewable IPP tendering program. Identified key targeted components, tendering strategy and enablers to enhance the feasibility of manufacturing investments.
  • Supported a 9+ GW renewable IPP tendering program further design and implement enablers for manufacturing investments in coordination with other government stakeholders and developed an unified investor outreach plan.
  • Reviewed the impact of a 45% electricity tariff hike on industrial end-users and developed a tariff structure that ensures the financial viability of electricity intensive large industrial customers through a cost-reflective tariff system based on objective qualification criteria
  • Reviewed potential commercial arrangements to ensure a reliable, low cost, renewables-based power supply to establish the largest cloud computing hub in the MENA region with investments of ~ USD 3 Bn and steady state power supply requirements of ~ 200 MW
  • Mediated a dispute over usufruct and fair compensation between a utility and a large industrial customer in a co-offtake agreement with a third-party for a USD 5 Bn power plant. Quantified the impact of alternative outcomes on involved parties as well as the public interest
  • Developed medium- to long-term energy security strategy for a GCC energy policy maker. Examined energy mix choices under several scenarios of natural gas availability, ramp-up and cost.  Recommended optimal share and deployment timeline of various renewable and nuclear technologies.
  • Assessed the economic impact of local content development opportunities of power generation and water desalination sectors with a focus on solar, wind and nuclear technologies for a GCC energy authority. Designed an investment planning forecasting tool to assess the trade-offs between direct and indirect financing options as well as the macro-economic impact of local content policies
  • Helped a renewable energy policymaker define the short- and long-term sector structure, regulation and governance framework to facilitate the integration of alternative power generation sources in the national energy mix. Designed a framework for promoting private sector investments based on a renewable energy auction process
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive multi-media communication and stakeholder engagement strategy to build a national consensus among key decision-makers on critical energy related questions and policy issues in a GCC country
  • Defined the strategic governance model for the board of directors, including horizontal and vertical interfaces between the holding company and multiple subsidiaries for a large regional power utility
  • Led the organization and operating model design for the generation business unit of a large integrated power utility in preparation for unbundling and introduction of a single buyer/electricity market. Defined key intercompany interfaces around fuel supply management, system planning, O&M planning, and bulk power purchasing and sales
  • Supported the transition of a 1 mtpa integrated steel rebar manufacturer in the GCC from project development to commercial operations. Conducted an organizational and operational performance diagnostic as well as a granular manpower requirement review. Redesigned and deployed operating model including management & business processes, decision rights and performance management framework
  • Developed a 20 year Integrated National Energy Strategy for one of the largest petroleum-resource countries in the Middle East. Assessed potential oil and gas production profiles and developed corresponding scenarios for core O&G as well as downstream industrial development.  Defined hydrocarbon resource allocations, investment priorities, and the institutional and governance framework across oil & gas, electrical power, and energy intensive industries
  • Developed an electrical power business strategy and partnership model for a National Oil Company to utilize captive power assets, control fuel efficiency of the national power system, and promote and finance its renewable energy investments
  • Built the capabilities of the Planning team of a large North African electrical utility to review and update their five-year strategic plan. Assessed progress against previous strategic objectives and engaged top management team in re-allocating resources in response to recent regulatory developments
  • Restructured the T&D business units into subsidiaries in preparation for the future introduction of private investment and competition for a 35+ GW integrated electricity monopoly
  • Developed the operating model and level-1 organization structure of the generation business unit for the largest integrated utility in the Middle East
  • Defined regulatory and licensing framework governing water and electric power utilities for Economic Cities
  • Designed an operating model, regulatory strategy and business plan for an integrated City Utility Company provisioning power, water, wastewater, and solid waste services for an Economic City.
  • Developed a generation unbundling and spin-off strategy for 35+ GW government-owned utility into 4 comparable generation companies and defined framework and key indicators for implementing a yard-stick regulation mechanism
  • Oversaw the implementation of a large restructuring and manpower reduction program across three municipalities for a GCC Ministry of Municipal Affairs
  • Developed a five-year strategy and a one-year operating plan for a newly established state-level integrated Department of Transport in a GCC country covering ground, air and water transport
  • Built a financial modeling tool and developed the business case for spinning-off an integrated mobile and fixed line company in preparation for telecom sector liberalization For a North African state-owned telecom holding company.


He is the author of several publications, including:

Three biases that impede local content development: Seeing through the illusions

The outlook for renewable energy in the GCC: Mostly sunny with a chance of rain

In addition Dr. Shihab have wrote a chapter in the AFED 2013 report (“Financing Energy Supply: The Role of the Private Sector”).


Elborai received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT (where he was the recipient of the Raymie Stata fellowship and the Carlton E. Tucker award for excellence in teaching undergraduates.). He holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.