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Columbia Energy Exchange

GCC Countries and the New Oil Landscape


Nader Sultan

Former CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation

Since the 1930’s when oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain — have been key players in the global oil market. While their vast endowment of oil resources has enhanced the region’s economic and geopolitical importance, it has also linked its fate to the cycle of oil prices. The rapid pace of change in the energy sector today, from the rise of US shale and the historic collapse in oil prices to the growing international commitment to address climate change, poses key challenges for the GCC. How the countries deal with these issues will have profound implications for them and the world as a whole.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Jason Bordoff, the director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, sat down with Nader Sultan, the former CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, who is now a Senior Partner in the company F&N Consultancy as well as the Director of the Oxford Energy Seminar. The discussion touched on a range of topics, including:

  1. How are GCC countries adapting to the lower oil price environment?
  2. What are the implications of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious National Transformation Program?
  3. How has the Paris climate agreement affected GCC business plans and long-term energy strategies?
  4. Does OPEC still matter for the world in terms of oil production decisions? Is Saudi Arabia still a swing producer?
  5. How do geopolitics weigh on OPEC relations and decisions, especially given the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

This conversation was originally recorded on June 14, 2016.

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