A $7 billion deal with French oil major Total could provide a lifeline for Iraq’s fragile economy.
Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW; Contributing Editor, Middle East Economic Survey; Fellow, Energy Institute
Kate Dourian is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, a contributing editor at the Middle East Economic Survey, and a fellow at the Energy Institute. Previously she was the regional manager for the Middle East and Gulf states at the World Energy Council, as well as the programme officer for the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Energy Relations Division of the International Energy Agency since September 2015. Her role included building relationships between the IEA and the governments of several Middle East and North Africa countries, using the extensive contacts that she accumulated during three decades spent in several Middle Eastern and North African countries as a journalist and energy analyst. Dourian was actively involved in the discussions that led to Morocco becoming an IEA Association country and the joint work program for which she raised funds from IEA members. She also helped write and edit the Middle East and North Africa sections of several IEA publications and contributed to the supply section of the Oil Market Report. She made presentations on behalf of the IEA in various capitals, most recently at the IEF Ministerial in New Delhi in April 2018. Dourian is often consulted on Middle Eastern matters by banks, financial institutions, and oil and gas companies. She also served as the IEA’s representative on the executive board of the International Energy Forum.
Dourian joined the IEA from the Middle East Economic Survey where she was a senior editor covering energy-related developments in the Middle East for the weekly from 2013-15. She was also responsible for compiling the monthly OPEC survey for MEES, which is one of the secondary sources used by OPEC.
From 2000-13, Dourian was the editor in chief for the Middle East for oil price reporting agency Platts, now a division of S&P Global, based in Dubai. She was also the general manager of McGraw-Hill International. Additionally, she served as a member of the OPEC reporting team and was one of the reporters assigned to compile the OPEC production numbers. While in Dubai, Dourian served as a board member of the American Business Council.
From 1983-2000, Dourian was a correspondent and then a senior editor at Reuters, serving in a number of postings including Beirut, Nicosia, London, and Rabat. She joined the energy desk in 1992, covering the Brent crude market and OPEC meetings. Prior to joining Reuters, Dourian worked as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, based in Beirut, Lebanon from 1981-83.
Dourian has been a speaker and moderator at international conferences and has made many radio and television appearances, discussing energy and geopolitics on a number of platforms in English, Arabic, and French on BBC, CNN, Al Arabiya, CNBC, and Al Jazeera English, and has been quoted extensively in several publications.
Saudi Arabia and Russia appear to be on the same page now, but OPEC+ will have to consider the impacts of its market management policies if it wants to avoid the pitfalls that have contributed to oil price volatility in the past.
OPEC+ producers seem to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, but as maintaining production cuts becomes more difficult for the smaller producers, they may be tempted to cash in while prices are high.
The new variant of the coronavirus, new lockdowns in several parts of the world, and the slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccine cast doubt on the timing of a recovery that would sustain higher production.
The OPEC+ alliance managed to stamp out dissent within its ranks and come to a compromise deal that will keep the market guessing in the months ahead.
Signs of strain within OPEC could reflect negatively on the market by casting doubt on the commitment of OPEC+ countries to adhere to production targets.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered perceptions as to the direction of energy demand growth and more weight has been given to the net-zero commitments by major consuming countries and how these will shape the energy system in the decades ahead.
Regardless of what shape the post-pandemic recovery takes, the crisis may have a far-reaching impact on future demand for fossil fuels.
The option to return to the pre-crisis model of rising oil demand is quickly disappearing.
The dash for gas will have ramifications for economic and energy models of the region’s petrostates for years to come as environmental pressures mount within the region and beyond.