Middle East and North Africa Energy 2018
Supply, demand and stability
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
Vice President of Business Development for Europe, Eurasia and Middle East, Chevron
Director of the Energy Bureau’s Office of the Middle East and Asia, US Department of State
President and CEO, GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey
Acting MENA Regional Program Manager, Natural Resource Governance Institute
Maria van der Hoeven
Senior Fellow, Clingendael International Energy Programme
Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Petroleum
Principal, Energy Futures Initiative
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
Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Director, Energy Center, SKOLKOVO Business School and Head of Research, Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI RAS)
Dr Robin Niblett CMG
Director, Chatham House
Chief Economist for the Middle East, Citi
Professor Paul Stevens
Distinguished Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House
Pricing and booking information
Ways to book:
- Phone: Call Georgia Dalton on +44 (0)20 7314 2785
- Online: Click here to complete the online registration form
- 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
|Partners and major corporate members|
|Standard corporate members|
|NGOs and academics||£540|
|NGOs and academics||£595|
Your delegate pass includes:
- Conference attendance
- Lunch and refreshments
Travel and accommodation are not included. View a list of recommended hotels here.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact Adam Bowie on
+44 (0) 20 7957 5732
10 St James's Square
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.
13 Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817
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
Classic Room without breakfast: £205 +VAT
The Stafford London
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ
Tel: 020 7493 0111
Fax: 020 7493 7121
Classic Queen without breakfast: £247 +VAT
Quote Chatham House