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Understanding Middle East Gas Exporting Behavior

The Middle East is a fascinating region with an immense GDP growth and an excellent business environment. Thanks to its huge hydrocarbon reserves, the region already exports a lot of oil and gas and has realistic plans to increase this further. Although the global gas market is currently saturated and will be so for the next years, the hunger for additional supplies is likely to reappear in the second half of the new decade. Consequently, the gas exporting nations in the Middle East, such as Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Iran have to prepare themselves for developing additional projects. The question discussed in this article is whether they are able to do so, given challenges such as high indigenous demand, energy inefficiency, reserve structures and the sometimes unstable political environment, which is making it difficult to attract the required capital. This review begins with a brief overview of each country's reserve structure and natural gas history. It then proceeds to analyze the current and future supply/demand balance, taking into account the relevant pipeline and LNG export projects, and draws conclusions for future export projects. The results suggest that Qatar, the UAE, Iran and Oman could contribute to global LNG and pipeline gas supplies with additional volumes of 55 to 90 bcm/a in the period 2015 to 2020.

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Energy Specializations: Natural Gas – Markets and Prices; Natural Gas – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Natural gas exports, Middle East, Exporter behavior

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No2-8

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Published in Volume 32, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.