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Middle East

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The Middle East, as defined by Globalshift, has just 15 countries and one disputed territory (Palestine). Nine of the countries lie in what is defined here as the Arabia/Persia sub-region and the remaining 7 lie in the East Mediterranean sub-region.

Arabia/Persia is the most important geographic area for oil production in the world. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest reserves and has low operating costs so can act as a swing producer when it chooses. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq are also major producers, with Iran and especially Iraq having considerable future potential due to erratic development histories driven by wars and sanctions.

Qatar owns half of the world’s largest gas field (the offshore North field) which provides substantial volumes of LNG globally and also piped gas within the region. The other half of the field is in Iran where it is called South Pars. This is also being developed in many phases.

Six of the countries in this region are members of OPEC. The others (Bahrain, Oman and Yemen) also produce oil and gas although civil war in Yemen is restricting the country’s potential. In the East Mediterranean only Syria has produced significant volumes of oil near its border with Iraq but output here has been decimated by civil war. Meanwhile major gas discoveries offshore Israel and Cyprus could turn these countries into LNG exporters.