Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018
Controlling supply, changing demand, and maintaining stability
The extension of OPEC supply cuts, increased US shale oil production and changing demand from Asian markets have recast the strategic relationships and power balances within global energy geopolitics. At the same time, persistent low prices and an increasingly competitive global oil and gas market continue to pose challenges for exporters in the MENA region, exposing their vulnerabilities and presenting an increasingly difficult range of choices. This picture is further complicated by uncertainties and tensions caused by unpredictable US foreign policy towards the region.
In this context, the Chatham House MENA Energy conference will explore the factors affecting oil and gas supply and demand globally as well as emerging developments influencing the long-term economic future of exporting countries in the MENA region.
The Chatham House Rule
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.
Monday 29 January
Overview | Geopolitics and the MENA region
This opening discussion will ask how political developments are affecting strategic relationships and power balances within the MENA region.
- What effect will the regional stand-off between Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members have for the energy politics of the region and beyond?
- What are the implications for the region as North Africa becomes more connected through Saudi investment, capital and energy flows?
- What impact will the change in Saudi Arabia’s line of royal succession have on its regional and international relations?
- Is there a Trump doctrine in the Middle East?
- What are Russian geostrategic and commercial interests in the region?
Session One | Maintaining Stability and Managing Low Prices
Attempts by OPEC and its allies to rebalance global oil markets and raise prices through supply cuts appear not to be having the desired effect. This session will focus on the dynamics of controlling supply during a time of continued low oil prices and geopolitical transition.
- Can OPEC balance today’s market? What strategy can it adopt in the face of the shale oil dilemma?
- As domestic pressures increase in OPEC countries to expand production, can members reach similar agreements to the 2016 production freeze beyond 2018? Will competition and disagreement among OPEC members intensify?
- How can greater cooperation between OPEC members be achieved, given the current GCC climate and relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran?
- Given the volume of Russian oil production and reserves, how important will coordination between OPEC and Russia be moving forward and what will this look like?
- What effect is OPEC’s price control having on domestic MENA economies?
- Are international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs) investing in spite of lower revenues?
- Is the global balance of market power shifting from OPEC to non-OPEC countries? What are the implications of this?
Session Two | Changing Demand for Oil
The implications of a long-term global shift away from fossil fuels will require new strategies for MENA producers with large low-cost reserves. This panel will focus on the implications of this shift and ask where future growth in oil demand might come from, with a focus on current dynamics in key Asian markets.
- How will the implementation of international agreements to mitigate climate change affect global oil demand?
- How will technological advances in energy efficiency affect future oil demand?
- What will be the impact of domestic price reform?
- If oil’s share of the global energy mix declines more rapidly than predicted, and the share of natural gas and renewables rises, what implications will this have for the MENA region?
- In what ways do economic links between MENA countries and key export markets in Asia, particularly in China and India, need to be strengthened and how can this be achieved?
- How will China’s industrial, economic and foreign policy, including the Belt and Road, impact on energy flows from MENA?
Session Three | Gas Deficits, Demand and Supply
Investing in gas reserves and infrastructure will be vital to the region’s economic diversification and its move away from oil export dependency. This panel will look at the prospects for liquefied natural gas (LNG) regionally and assess the potential impacts of changes in pricing and global demand on producing countries.
- How can MENA gas producers reconfigure terms of investment and pricing frameworks to encourage IOC investment and know-how needed to unlock reserves?
- What will be the impact of Qatar lifting the moratorium on North Field developments?
- What role will LNG play in improving regional economic competitiveness caused by rising domestic energy demand and intensity in industrial, commercial and residential sectors?
- How might the COP 21 Paris Agreement impact the prospects for the gas sector in the MENA region? 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?
- What will the trade of gas look like in the future? Will the market become more global? How will this affect MENA exporters?
- If other producers – Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia – can add LNG into global markets by the million tons, what impact could this have on price and strategies in countries such as Qatar, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Iran?
17:30 Close of day one and reception hosted by Chatham House
Tuesday 30 January
Session Four | Energy Transitions and Climate Action
The COP 21 Paris climate change agreement will require countries across the MENA region to adapt to meet nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and other obligations which will further shape future regional energy policies. This panel will also assess the economic opportunities offered by renewable energy in the region and prospects for future development.
- How are power and water sectors being transformed and efficiency improved? What role will renewable energy technologies play in the domestic energy mix in MENA countries?
- What can be done to accelerate private sector participation in renewables development? Solar and wind dominate, but what about other forms of clean energy such as geothermal, tidal and so on?
- How will the drive for renewable energy present changes and opportunities for IOCs and NOCs in the region?
- How will MENA countries adapt to meet NDCs as part of the Paris Agreement?
- What impact will these international obligations have on energy policies in the region?
Session Five | Future Economic and Political Dynamics
In the context of sustained low oil prices in the region and the impact on national budgets, this panel will assess policies to increase economic diversification. It will also address what options are open to the region’s energy exporting countries to reform their economies given continued security risks and regional tensions.
- Is there sufficient appetite for economic reform within the current political climate?
- What political and economic challenges are demographic changes across the Gulf creating? What is the potential for job creation in the region?
- What will be the effect of the privatization of some domestic energy sectors?
- What is the security outlook across the MENA region? What will be the long-term implications of fragile states in Syria, Yemen and Libya and a weakening of state involvement in managing and developing their oil sectors?
- How might the conflict in the GCC change regional energy politics, particularly gas exports from Qatar?
13:30 End of conference
© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2017
Pricing and booking information
Register by Friday 24 November 2017 to benefit from the early booking rate.
Ways to book:
- Phone: Call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
- Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
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EARLY RATE (+VAT):
|FULL RATE (+VAT): |
AFTER 24 NOVEMBER
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