Mehran Kamrava Speaks at Session by Occidental Petroleum Corporation in Qatar
Occidental Petroleum Qatar hosted a session titled “Qatar: The Economic and Political Role of Oil and Gas in the Middle East and the Gulf” on October 18, 2017 at Sheraton Hotel. Mehran Kamrava, Director CIRS, was invited to deliver a lecture about how oil and gas continue to remain as the defining features of the Gulf’s strategic importance, shaping both intraregional relations and the relations of outside powers with the Gulf States. He further stated that at the same time, despite recent efforts to prepare for a post-oil era through fostering knowledge economies, hydrocarbon resources continue to serve as the primary source of revenues for domestic development. Not surprisingly, oil remains as an important factor in regional politics and international relations. In recent years, factors such as ideology, identity, and policy priorities have added to existing economic and energy competitions among regional actors. This competition has increasingly intensified with the coming online of Iraqi and Iranian petrochemical exports at a time of declining global energy demands. Other complicating factors include growing imperatives for economic reforms in Saudi Arabia, the deepening military and societal crisis in Yemen, the quagmire in Syria, and rising overall levels of regional tension. The prognosis for regional developments in the near future is far from positive, with oil and gas continuing to play pivotal roles in the Gulf, in the larger Middle East, and beyond.