16 September 2015, Beirut
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies &
The Natural Resource Governance Institute
The recent dramatic drop in oil prices has been described as the most important economic development, with many analysts contemplating the impact of such a decline on world economies, oil consumers, producers and industry. While oil consuming countries seem to benefit from lower energy prices, the effects on oil-producing countries seem to vary.
Titus Erker, Member of the Management Committee of Access for Women in Energy, spoke at the conference which addressed the new oil price reality and the impact on both the oil sector and Arab economies, as well as the conditions that need to be in place in order to reduce the political and economic vulnerability of Arab countries.
The conference provided a platform for highly interactive debates, showcasing original thinking, policy experience, and emerging practices especially in relation to improvement in governance and economic diversification. The three major themes of the conference were:
1: Oil Price Dynamic – Is the decline in oil prices due to an increase in oil supply or is it driven by lower economic activity? Additionally, is a new price dynamic shaping oil markets and is the drop in oil prices permanent or temporary? What is the role of OPEC in influencing the oil market?
2: Economic and Sector Impact On the Region – Could lower prices boost production in the non-oil sector? As for the oil sector, what is the impact on it in terms of capital expenditure, decisions on exploration, and extraction initiatives? Will International Oil Companies attempt to renegotiate their oil contracts? What effect will that have on the fiscal and contract terms?
3: Governance and Diversification – How can the governance of the oil sector be improved? What are the key principles that need to be in place? What have been the core political constraints to diversification in Arab resource rich economies? Do lower oil prices afford new opportunities for economic diversification?