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How Changing Markets, Geopolitics Affect Energy Reality

Doha_Carbon_and_Energy_Forum_qatarEven a quick glance at any morning paper makes clear the range of potentially serious impacts on business operations costs and the Energy industry today. To gain a fuller understanding of these impacts — as well as what’s required to reduce those risks — The Brookings Doha Center (BDC) and Brookings Energy Security Initiative (ESI) recently held their fourth annual Brookings Doha Energy Forum in Doha, Qatar.

A full conference report will be released in May. But already important insights have been released from the forum that “that examined the relationship between the Middle East, established energy markets such as Europe and the United States, and emerging Asian powers.”

As Brookings writes, speakers “shed light on three principal themes: the changing geopolitics of energy, the implications of political and economic changes in the Middle East and Asia for energy production and consumption, and the shifts in global energy markets and their consequences for pricing.”

The keynote was given by H.E. Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Mutib Al-Rumaihi, Minister’s Assistant for Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar. In his speech, the Gulf Times reports that Al-Rumaihi said, “The State of Qatar prides itself in playing a constructive role in regional and global politics and energy markets. One way to accomplish this is by providing a venue to engage in dialogue about key issues just as we now plan to do by hosting talks between Yemen’s factions in an effort to resolve our neighbour’s political crisis,”

Another presenter, according to pre-released remarks, said “Qatar and the Gulf states urgently need a common strategy” that addresses the many changing political and market-based dynamics. Naser al-Tamimi, a UK-based Middle East analyst and author of “China-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1990-2012: Marriage of Convenience or Strategic Alliance?” indicated the factors that could impact the liquified natural gas (LNG) markets in Qatar and the region include:

  • “Rapid technological advances in energy exploration, drilling, and production could increase gas supplies in several countries.”
  • “A strong desire among many of the energy-consuming countries, especially in Asia, to reduce their dependence on Middle Eastern energy imports. Measures such as energy efficiency, promoting research and innovation, and increased investments in nuclear energy and alternative energies may limit the increase in any future demand.”
  • “U.S. policy in the Middle East is still evolving, so all possibilities could be on the table, including signing a final nuclear agreement with Iran, withdrawal from Afghanistan, and reaching a political solution in Iraq and Syria.”

To review the online conversation around the conference, follow #DohaEnergy15 on Twitter.