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Transforming GCC’s Oil and Gas Industry in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges

Author: Vijo Varkey Theeyattuparampil and Ali Vezvaei

Paper | August 2014

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For many decades, the energy industry, particularly oil and gas, has been the mainstay of the GCC countries. Presently, the GCC is home to 81 percent and 25 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves, respectively. The National Oil Companies (NOCs) have invested in infrastructure development for exploration, production, refining, and distribution of crude oil and natural gas. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques have helped sustain oil production. However, GCC countries such as Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman have been experiencing severe shortages of conventional natural gas and rely on Qatar to meet their peak summer demands. In the downstream industry, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have focused on developing the petrochemical industry. Other GCC countries have followed similar strategies. This paper outlines the challenges facing the oil and gas industry. A SWOT assessment of the GCC’s oil and gas industry is presented and key recommendations in the form of opportunities for the oil and gas industry are outlined. This is particularly aimed at political decision makers and energy industry executives. In conclusion, the future research prospects stemming from this study are laid out.

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