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The impact of the global energy transition on MENA oil and gas producers

Summary:
Endowed with half of the world's known oil and gas reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is cornerstone of the global energy architecture. This article argues that – together with the pressing need to create jobs opportunities for a large and youthful population – the possibility of the world moving more aggressively towards a low-carbon future should represent a key argument for the implementation of economic reform programmes.Endowed with half of the world’s known oil and gas reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is cornerstone of the global energy architecture. The global low-carbon energy transition poses critical questions to MENA oil and gas producers, as it may imply sustained pressure on their development models, which rely heavily on

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Endowed with half of the world's known oil and gas reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is cornerstone of the global energy architecture. This article argues that – together with the pressing need to create jobs opportunities for a large and youthful population – the possibility of the world moving more aggressively towards a low-carbon future should represent a key argument for the implementation of economic reform programmes.

Endowed with half of the world’s known oil and gas reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is cornerstone of the global energy architecture. The global low-carbon energy transition poses critical questions to MENA oil and gas producers, as it may imply sustained pressure on their development models, which rely heavily on hydrocarbon revenues. Without economic reforms, this may translate into macroeconomic unbalances, and ultimately put at risk established social contracts in the region. The sharp drop in oil prices that began in 2014 fostered MENA hydrocarbon producers to launch ambitious economic reform programmes aimed at increasing the diversification of their economies, notably by developing their non-hydrocarbon sectors. This article argues that – together with the pressing need to create jobs opportunities for a large and youthful population – the possibility of the world moving more aggressively towards a low-carbon future should represent a key argument for the implementation of these economic reform programmes. That is, MENA producers might use the potential prospect of lower global hydrocarbon demand and prices to overcome their rentier state model, and pursue the economic diversification plans never duly implemented in the past.

Simone Tagliapietra
Simone Tagliapietra is an expert in international energy and climate issues, with a record of numerous publications covering the European energy markets, the EU energy and climate policy and the Euro-Mediterranean energy relations, with a particular focus on Turkey. He holds a PhD in Institutions and Policies from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, where he currently collaborates with the Department of International Economics, Institutions and Development.

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