Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018

Supply, demand and stability

29 Jan 2018 - 09:30 to 30 Jan 2018 - 13:30
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Chatham House


The continuation of OPEC supply cuts, an increase in US shale oil production and low demand growth from Asian markets are altering strategic relationships and geopolitical power balances across global energy markets. At the same time, a persistently low oil price environment - relative to pre mid-2014 prices - and increased competition from other oil and gas producers, pose challenges for MENA region exporters, exposing vulnerabilities and fault lines at a critical moment when many of the region's energy producers are attempting to pursue long-term political and economic transitions.

The picture is further complicated by uncertainties prompted by an unpredictable Presidential administration in the US, with a variegated policy strategy towards the MENA region. In this context, the 2018 Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy conference will discuss market factors affecting oil and gas supply and demand globally as well as the political developments that will shape the region's long-term economic future. 

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 explore how political developments are affecting strategic relations and power balances within the MENA region.

  • What affect is the consolidation of domestic power in Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom’s interventionist foreign policy having on the region?  
  • How are diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran affecting oil markets and energy investors?
  • As the current US Presidential administration evolves, is a strategy expected to emerge in terms of its approach to the MENA region? 
  • Will Russia’s influence in the region continue to grow? If so, what are the geostrategic and economic goals that it is likely to pursue, and what will be the effects on energy markets?

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 to be having a mixed effect.  This session will focus on contemporary political and market challenges of attempts to control supply and manage global oil prices.

  • To what extent have oil price rises of 20 per cent since mid-October 2017 been driven by political uncertainties rather than material changes to oil demand?
  • Will the extension of supply cuts through to the end of 2018 have its intended effect? How will the agreement be unwound? Could it be extended? 
  • At what cost to their global competitiveness can OPEC producers keep oil prices at a desired level?
  • What effect is this having on the economic diversification strategies of oil producers in the Middle East?
  • What levels of capex can be expected by international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs) at current prices? 

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 | Prospects for Gas

In a time of rising market supply, this panel will look at the prospects for natural gas and assess the potential impacts of changes in pricing and global demand on MENA producing countries.

  • Natural gas is predicted to account for a quarter of global energy demand by 2040. How will this change the energy landscape in the MENA region? 
  • Rising supply and growth in US exports is giving more power to buyers, changing the dynamics of the global LNG market. In what ways is this putting MENA exporters under pressure?  
  • There is increasing cooperation and joint working between Asian LNG importers in areas such as shipping, storage and to secure more flexible contracts. How is MENA’s biggest market changing and with what impact on producing countries? 
  • How will investment strategies and business models in the MENA region need to adapt to these new realities? 
  • How can MENA gas producers reconfigure terms of investment and pricing frameworks to encourage IOC investment and know-how needed to unlock gas reserves? 

17:30 Close of day one and reception hosted by Chatham House

Tuesday 30 January 

Session Four | Renewables and the Energy Transition

From the opening of the world’s largest concentrated solar plant in Morocco to recent announcement of the $500 billion NEOM project in Saudi Arabia, ambitious projects are being planned and developed across the MENA region to maximize the economic opportunities offered by renewable energy. This panel will assess the economic opportunities offered by renewable energy in the region and prospects for future development.

  • What kind of structural reforms of pricing mechanisms and regional energy markets are needed to open up more private sector participation and opportunities in renewables development?
  • How are partnerships between governments and the private sector enabling the development of transformative projects? 
  • What role will renewable energy technologies play in the future domestic energy mix in MENA countries? 
  • What impact will international climate change obligations have on energy policies in the region?
  • How will a drive for renewable energy present changes and opportunities for IOCs and NOCs in the region? 

Session Five | Economic and Political Transformations

In the context of recent 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, create sectors for new employment and harness the potential of the next generation of citizens. 

  • What has the impact of recent economic reforms been? What further actions need to be taken to increase investment, diversification, and job creation?  
  • Is there sufficient appetite for economic reform within the current political and security climate?
  • What political and economic challenges are demographic changes across the Gulf creating?  
  • Into which sectors can the region attract greater international investment? Which future projects can provide the biggest growth opportunities? 

13:30 End of conference

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2017

Keynote speaker


Bob Dastmalchi to speak at Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Bob Dastmalchi

Vice President of Business Development for Europe, Eurasia and Middle East, Chevron

Alan Eyre to speak at the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Alan Eyre

Director of the Energy Bureau’s Office of the Middle East and Asia, US Department of State

Nabil Habayeb to speak at Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Nabil Habayeb

President and CEO, GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey

Laury Haytayan to speak at the Chatham House MENA Energy 2018 conference

Laury Haytayan

Acting MENA Regional Program Manager, Natural Resource Governance Institute

Maria van der Hoeven to speak at the Chatham House MENA Energy2018 conference

Maria van der Hoeven

Senior Fellow, Clingendael International Energy Programme

Majid Jafar to speak at the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2017 conference

Majid Jafar

Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Petroleum

Melanie Kenderdine

Principal, Energy Futures Initiative

Glada Lahn

Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House

Coby van der Linde

Director, Clingendael International Energy Programme; Member of the International Advisory Board, KAPSARC

Valérie Marcel

Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House

Tatiana Mitrova to speak at Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Tatiana Mitrova

Director, Energy Center, SKOLKOVO Business School and Head of Research, Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI RAS)

Dr Robin Niblett to speak at Chatham House Europe and its Neighbourhood conference 2017

Dr Robin Niblett CMG

Director, Chatham House

Farouk Soussa to speak at Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Farouk Soussa

Chief Economist for the Middle East, Citi

Professor Paul Stevens

Professor Paul Stevens

Distinguished Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House


Pricing and booking information 

Ways to book:

  1. Phone: Call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
  2. Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
  3. Email / Post: Download a PDF registration form, complete and return to Louisa Troughton via email or post: Chatham House, 10 St. James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LE
  RATE (+VAT): 
Partners and major corporate members 
All organizations£645
Standard corporate members 
Commercial organizations£1,390
Government departments£820
NGOs and academics£540
Commercial organizations£1,535
Government departments£920
NGOs and academics£595

Your delegate pass includes:

  • Conference attendance
  • Documentation
  • Lunch and refreshments

Travel and accommodation are not included. View a list of recommended hotels here.


Crescent Petroleum to sponsor the Chatham House MENA Energy 2017 conference   Chevron Logo 
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact Adam Bowie on
+44 (0) 20 7957 5732

Supporting partners

Media partners

African Energy to partner with Chatham House on MENA Energy 2018  Gulf States News to partner with Chatham House on MENA Energy 2018  Natural Gas World to partner with Chatham House on its Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference

Interfax Energy to partner with Chatham House on its Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018 conference   OxGaps to partner with Chatham House on the Middle East and North Africa Energy 2017 conference

If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact 
Ayesha Arif on +44 (0)20 7957 5753


Chatham House
10 St James's Square
[email protected]

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7314 2785
Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5710

If you wish to book the venue for your own event please phone +44 (0)20 7314 2764

The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus which is on the Piccadilly and the Bakerloo Underground lines. From Piccadilly follow Regent Street southwards towards Pall Mall and take the first road on the right called Jermyn Street. Duke of York Street is the second road on the left and leads to St James's Square. Chatham House is immediately on your right.


Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a conference at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
13 Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817
[email protected]

Classic Double without breakfast: £195 +VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1U 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125
[email protected] 

Classic Room without breakfast: £205 +VAT

Book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London 
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ

Tel: 020 7493 0111
Fax: 020 7493 7121
[email protected]

Classic Queen without breakfast: £247 +VAT
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Press registration

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists.

Press can request a press pass.

Contact us 

For enquiries relating to the conference agenda or sponsorship please call Adam Bowie on 
+44 (0) 20 7957 5732

For registration enquiries please call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785

For general enquiries please email [email protected]