Political and Economic Impacts of Lower Oil Prices on the Middle East

16 September 2015, Beirut

Organized by

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. The new oil price reality and the impact on both the oil sector and Arab economies will be discussed during the conference, while will be addressed the conditions that need to be in place in order to reduce the political and economic vulnerability of Arab countries. The conference will provide 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 are:

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?



8.30-9.00 Registration and Coffee
9.00-10.30 Introduction & Keynote


  • Adnan Al-Janabi, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Oil and Energy Committee, Iraq
  • Lene Lind, Ambassador of Norway in Lebanon
  • Daniel Kaufmann, President, Natural Resource Governance Institute, USA
  • Sami Atallah, Executive Director, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
11.00-12.30 Oil Price Dynamics & Regional Impact


Nisreen Salti, Chairperson of the Economics Department, AUB & LCPS Research Fellow, Lebanon


  • Titus Erker, Economist, Crystol Energy, UK
  • Rabah Arezki, Chief of the Commodities Unit, Research Department, International Monetary Fund, USA
  • Carole Nakhle, Director, Crystol Energy, UK
  • Walid Khadduri, Consultant, Middle East Economic Survey, Lebanon
12.30-13.00 Coffee Break
13.00-14.00 Governance and Economic Diversification


Sami Atallah, Executive Director, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon


  • Farouk Al-Kasim, President, Petroteam A S, Norway
  • Adeel Malik, Research Fellow in Economics and Islamic Centre Lecturer in Development Economics, University of Oxford, UK
14.00-15.00 Lunch
15.00-17.30 Country Perspectives


Patricia Karam, Director, MENA Programs, NRGI, USA


  • Ahmed Jehani, Former Minister of Rehabilitation, Stabilisation and Reconstruction, Libya
  • Slim Besbes, Former Minister of Finance and Former Head of Finance Committee, Tunisia
  • Luay Al-Khatteeb, Founding Director of the Iraq Energy Institute and Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, Iraq & UK
  • Ahmed Mousa Jiyad, Oil and Energy Expert, Iraq & Norway
  • Nasser Hoteit, Lebanese Petroleum Administration Board Member, Lebanon

The conference will be held in both English and Arabic, with simultaneous translation.

Download the Concept Note here.

Download the Conference Progam here.