Middle East and North Africa Energy
Navigating uncertainties - politics, markets, reforms and investment
A climate of uncertainty confronts the political and economic leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. Persistent lower oil prices, an increasingly competitive global oil market, regional power dynamics, continued security threats, and the need to pursue difficult economic reforms present a combination of strategic and systemic challenges.
This year’s annual Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy conference will address these and the political developments, market variables, reform agendas and investment opportunities that will shape the future of the region.
The Chatham House Rule
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.
Suggested hashtag: #CHMenaEnergy
Register by Friday 25 November 2016 to benefit from the early booking rate.
For any questions about which rate applies to you, please call Alex Cook on +44 (0)207 957 5727
EARLY RATE (+VAT):
|FULL RATE (+VAT): |
AFTER 25 NOVEMBER
|Major corporate members|
|Standard corporate members|
|NGOs and academics||£440||£540|
|NGOs and academics||£490||£595|
Overview | Geopolitics, Markets and the MENA Region
This opening discussion will consider the political and market contexts and how they affect MENA energy producing and exporting countries; exploring ways in which the region can effectively navigate through an environment of uncertainties.
- How will international political developments affect strategic relationships and power balances within the MENA region? What will the new US administration mean for US-Middle East relations?
- What is the outlook for world oil markets? How might geopolitical factors affect the market’s ability to align oil production and demand?
- Will increased non-OPEC production and the potential re-emergence of Iran create a more dynamic, unpredictable oil market?
- What would be the longer-term economic effects of a lower oil price equilibrium? How able are MENA producers to adapt and succeed in a slow recovery and increasingly competitive oil market?
- What is expected to happen to oil demand in the context of developments such as the Paris Agreement at COP 21? How can national and international oil companies adapt accordingly?
- To what extent has investment in the MENA region by international oil companies (IOCs) been affected by market and political uncertainties?
Session One | Political Economy, Diversification and the Reform Agenda in the Middle East
In the context of subdued forecasts for global growth, continued security risks, and long-established social contracts, what options are open to the MENA region’s energy exporting countries to reform their economies? This session will focus on the choices and challenges for the region’s leaders.
- Are the political economy reforms currently being enacted having the desired effect? How can policy-makers overcome the structural barriers to delivering politically difficult economic reforms?
- How successful have policy adjustments and austerity measures been in narrowing budget shortfalls?
- To what extent has spending on social projects continued as expected or has the oil price had an effect on this?
- How can reforms attract inward investment into potential growth sectors in the Middle East?
- What are the risks for political stability should reforms be carried out too quickly? Are there sufficient means to cushion citizens from the effects of fiscal reforms?
- To what degree are younger populations and women in the Middle East on board with the reform agenda?
Spotlight discussion: Moving beyond oil in Saudi Arabia
- How are Saudi Arabia’s energy and oil policies likely to evolve under new ministerial arrangements and can it continue its policy of prioritizing oil market share over prices?
- How can the Vision 2030 reforms and the National Transformation Programme deliver diversification and achieve long-term economic change? How does the proposed part-privatisation of Saudi Aramco fit into this course of action?
- How has the pace of the reforms affected their potential for success? Are reforms going too far or not far enough? What does success look like?
Session Two | Regional Opportunities, Realities and Expectations
This session will focus on commercial opportunities in two of the regions underdeveloped oil and gas exporters with major production potential – Iran and Iraq, including developments since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme, and hopes for the energy sector in Iraq.
Spotlight discussion: Iraq
- How can Iraq push through its ambitious oil and gas plans? Can it continue to increase production growth as its oil-sales revenues decline?
Spotlight discussion: Iran
- In the current geopolitical and market environment what is the appetite among IOCs and financiers to invest in Iran?
- How will the incoming Trump administration affect Iran-US relations and political commitment in the US to the nuclear deal? How will multilateral international commitments be affected?
Session Three | Energy Investment Outlook
Against a backdrop of cuts to global oil and gas investment, the MENA region has continued to invest heavily across the energy value chain. This moderated discussion will assess energy investments across the region, the prospects for the upstream oil and gas sector, renewable energy projects to meet rising power demand, and emerging opportunities.
- What is the investment outlook for upstream oil and gas in the MENA region? How is this affected by concerns over the stability of demand and the risks of prolonged lower oil prices?
- Which are the countries in the MENA region that are leading the investment drive, and which are best placed to benefit in the event of price rises?
- Is there an opportunity for natural gas to significantly develop while transitions within renewables and energy efficiency progress? What structural impact might this have on energy markets?
- How can economic opportunities offered by renewable energy in the region be maximized? What role does the regional energy market and pricing mechanisms have on this development?
1745 Close of day one and reception hosted by Chatham House
Tuesday 24 January
Session Four | Risks, Instability and Security
This session will focus on the campaign against violent extremism in the MENA region, the effectiveness of current approaches, and the threat posed by systemic violence for the region’s energy sector.
- What is the security outlook across the MENA region? How is the threat posed by extremism and terrorism likely to evolve in the region and beyond?
- What do developments in global security and military power balances mean for regional security? How might the US policy on counter-terrorism develop under a Trump presidency and what would this mean for the region?
- How are efforts to build effective resistance to Islamic State (IS) faring? What are the limitations of an IS-centric approach to counterterrorism and combating Islamist extremism?
- What is the role of energy in IS’s strategy? What are the key points of vulnerability for the region’s energy sector and what impact has the security situation had on the oil sector?
- What does the interlocking nature of security crises and conflicts mean for the future of regional security in the Middle East?
- What role should Asian countries with an increasing stake in the Middle East have in supporting security efforts in the region?
Session Five | North Africa and the East Mediterranean
This session will assess the prospects for further development in North Africa’s upstream sector, and what recent agreements in the neighbouring Eastern Mediterranean may mean for expanding gas production from new supply sources.
- How can Libya overcome restrictions on oil production and exports and revive its hydrocarbons sector in the face of continued instability and security problems?
- Can Algeria attract the necessary international investment and continue to revive its oil and gas output after years of stagnation?
- What can be learned from the speed of progress following the Zohr gas discovery in Egypt? What are the decision-making obstacles present in other countries that Egypt was able to overcome?
- What are the risks and potential benefits of Lebanon establishing a national oil company and at what stage could it be most beneficial?
- What are the political implications of the Israel-Jordan gas deal?
1300 End of conference and lunch
© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2016
Dr Falah Jassim Alamri
Director General, State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO), Iraq
President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre
Founder & Executive Director, Iraq Energy Institute, and Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University
Visiting Fellow, Middle East Centre, LSE and Assistant Professor of Finance, Kuwait University
Dr Hend Alsheikh
Director General, Women Branch at Institute of Public Administration, Institute of Public Administration, Saudi Arabia
Chair, Committee on Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology, Turkish Grand National Assembly
Senior Lecturer, Regent's University London
Advisor to the Minister of Energy of Algeria and National Representative of Algeria, OPEC
Mission Chief to Saudi Arabia, International Monetary Fund
Tobias Ellwood MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
Director of the Bureau’s Office of the Middle East and Asia, US Department of State
Dr Bassam Fattouh
Director, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
Professor of Political Science, University of Tehran
Associate Professor, Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark
Senior Research Fellow in Arabic, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
HE Dr Ali Majedi
Ambassador to Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran and Deputy Oil Minister of International Affairs (2013-14)
Associate Professor of Energy Policy, Sharif University of Technology, and Deputy Foreign Minister (1988-1997), Iran
Dr Valérie Marcel
Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Dr Michal Meidan
Associate Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House
Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards
Visiting Fellow, Brookings Doha Center and Professor of Politics, Queen’s University Belfast
HE Eng. Tarek El Molla
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Egypt
Dr Edward Morse
Global Head of Commodities, Research, Citigroup
Dr Mohamad Ali Mousavi
Chief Advisor to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, Iran
President & Chief Executive Officer, ACWA Power
Chairman, National Oil Corporation, Libya
Professor Paul Stevens
Distinguished Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Dr Sanam Vakil
Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chairman of the Board, Lebanese Petroleum Administration
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact
Amy Wevill on +44 (0) 20 7957 5732.
If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact
Amy Smith on +44 (0)20 7957 5755
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