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Zalmay Khalilzad speaks at North Africa Oil & Gas Summit on next steps for the region"Industry must stay engaged with the region" (October 21, 2011)
North African countries, such as Libya, that have undergone major transformation, need to review their legacy laws and regulations and, if necessary, make amendments or write new ones says Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Khalilzad is a heading up a high-level line-up of speakers at the upcoming North Africa Oil & Gas Summit in Madrid from 25-27 October.
The former UN Ambassador will address senior oil & gas industry leaders on "The changing dynamics of the Post-Arab-spring region - resuming oil flows in Libya and setting the scene for regional recovery."
Sense of continuity in the sector
Comparing the situation in North Africa with that of Iraq he says: "perhaps the most difficult challenge facing the development of the Iraqi oil and gas sector has been the lack of a unified hydrocarbon policy for regulating the sector." He says North African countries need to review their legacy laws and regulations which "should provide a reliable and consistent legal framework for investment that protects national interests and increase transparency, which was often lacking under authoritarian regimes. At the same time, it is important that governments try to create a sense of continuity in the oil and gas sector, remove uncertainty, and reassure international companies that their interests, too, will be protected. In addition, ensuring security, repairing and expanding basic infrastructure, and cutting red tape associated with the movement of personnel and equipment are also important."
Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently the President of Gryphon Partners, says the best way for other Arab states to help the Libyan people is to recognize and accept the new government, and "refrain from supporting groups that do not share the democratic aspirations of the vast majority of the Libyan people".
Industry must stay engaged with the region
He does not foresee a major risk of the oil majors downsizing in the North African region, if the global economy avoids another downturn. He continues: "if economies like India and China continue to push consumption upward then the industry must maximise utilization of available undeveloped or underdeveloped reserves in order for supply capacity to keep up with demand. The low cost of production in the Middle East and North Africa gives the region special importance in this regard, particularly if there is no breakthrough in finding cheap alternatives to oil in the near future."
Mr Khalilzad says the scarcity of other sizable resource deposits elsewhere in the world does not leave the industry with many options. He explains: "an increase in the reliance on natural gas would not undermine the significance of North Africa because countries like Algeria, Libya and Egypt are very rich in gas too. I think the industry must stay engaged with the Middle East and North Africa for the foreseeable future."
More speaker highlights at the North Africa Oil & Gas Summit include:
* Mohamed Akrout, President and CEO of the National Oil Company of Tunisia (ETAP)
* Nemesio Fernandez-Cuesta, Executive Vice President Exploration & Production, Repsol
* Luis Travesado, Managing Director Exploration & Production, CEPSA
* Mohamed Ould Bahiya, General Manager, Societe Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMH)
* Mounir Bouazis, VP Commercial MENA region, SHELL
25 October: Shale and tight gas workshop
26-27 October: Conference
Event location: Hotel Melia Castilla, located near to the Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid
Related Keywords:North Africa Oil & Gas Summit, Madrid, Spain, Zalmay Khalilzad, Ghadaffi, Libya, Arab Spring, oil & gas industry