Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis in a recent report has highlighted that the Middle East & North Africa region has the high-grade iron ore supply, existing DRI capacity, green hydrogen potential and renewable energy resources necessary for producing green steel, putting it at an advantage worldwide. Recently, a number of major global steelmakers and iron ore producers have announced projects in the Middle East and North Africa region that are focused on producing high-grade iron ore, DR-grade pellets, low-carbon DRI and green hydrogen.Emirates Steel Arkan, the UAE’s largest steel and building material producer, announced in October 2022 that it is working on producing DRI in Abu Dhabi in collaboration with two Japanese companies ITOCHU as a supplier of high-grade iron ore and JFE Steel as one of the end users of the DRI. The UAE project, which is in the feasibility study stage, is expected to commence in the second half of 2025 and supply ferrous raw materials to steel producers in Asia. The project’s technology would initially be a gas-based direct reduction with the option of using green hydrogen in the future to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. The studies are focused on establishing a steel raw material hub in Abu Dhabi to meet the increasing demand for fossil-free steel.In November 2022, Brazilian miner Vale, the third-largest iron ore miner and largest producer of iron ore pellets in the world, signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Development Center to construct an iron ore pelletising plant in Ras Al-Khair Industrial City. The plant would have an annual capacity of 4 million tonnes and USD 1.1 billion CAPEX. It would also be Vale’s second investment in the MENA region after its pelletising plants commenced in Oman in 2011. In another November announcement, Vale revealed its intention to establish green briquette megahubs in the Middle East. Vale will provide iron ore fines to three concentration plants in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman. This will be agglomerated into green briquettes of a grade high enough to be used in DRI furnaces.In North Africa, ArcelorMittal signed a MoU in May 2022 with the second-largest iron ore miners in Africa SNIM to assess the possibility of developing a pelletisation and DRI plant in Mauritania. The project would take advantage of the country’s potential for renewable energy and green hydrogen production. Energy giant bp signed an MoU with Mauritania during COP27 to evaluate green hydrogen production potential in that country.Jindal Shadeed Group announced in December that they would invest more than US$3 billion in green steel in Oman by 2026. The company operates a steelmaking plant with a capacity of 2.4 million tonnes annually using gas-based DRI technology and aims to build a new plant that can use green hydrogen with an annual capacity of 5 million tonnes to make green steel. MENA’s manufacturers will consume up to 40% of production, and the rest will be exported to meet green steel demand worldwide, focusing on special automotive products for producers in Europe and Japan.These announcements and investments from major global players in steel, iron ore and energy underline the MENA region’s potential to play a key role in the steel transition by becoming a green metallics (green HBI/DRI) and green hydrogen producer and exporter. MENA has significant advantages over other regions of the world when it comes to steel decarbonisation. It already has the key ingredients for producing green steel – an expanding supply of DR-grade iron ore, a fleet of operational DRI plants that could be converted to use green hydrogen, cheap renewables through excellent solar radiation resources that could be harnessed to make that green hydrogen, and enough space and lands for allocating to such large-scale green projects. It is also a prime geographic location for exporting raw materials and finished products.