Hakim Darbouche

Research Associate

Hakim Darbouche is Business Development Manager in the Upstream M&A group at OMV AG in Vienna. He took on this role in January 2017, after spending 4 years in London working for OMV’s Upstream UK business in commercial, BD and asset management positions. Hakim worked at OIES from 2009 to 2012, during which time he led the Institute’s research on MENA natural gas markets and North African energy issues. He holds a BA from Sussex University and a PhD from the University of Liverpool.

 

 

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                    [post_content] => The discovery of sizable gas resources in the Levant Basin, a geological structure that straddles the territorial waters of Cyprus, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Syria, has the potential to be game-changing for the East Mediterranean region. Hitherto net energy importers, these countries are now faced with the prospect of long-term energy self-sufficiency and the development of a new revenue stream for the economy. With the resource potential of the Levant Basin believed to be much higher than the 35 Tcf of gas discovered recently, the East Mediterranean is now the focus of much interest on the part of major upstream investors. However, in the short to medium term, the development and monetisation of these resources present stakeholders with a set of challenges originating in the region’s complex political make-up, as well as in the fact that their energy and gas utilisation policies are still work in progress, over and above the technical difficulties relating to the development of these resources. This paper examines the challenges and opportunities that have been given rise to by these discoveries, arguing that to 2020 East Mediterranean gas is more likely to be a game-changer for local energy systems than for regional and international gas markets.
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                    [post_content] => The countries of the Middle East and Africa sit on large reserves of natural gas, but their share of international trade looks unlikely to increase significantly by 2020. Fast-growing domestic demand is, in many of these countries, putting considerable pressure on domestic gas supply, resulting in reduced exports and growing import needs. Artificially-low domestic gas prices are a key feature of this state of play. They need to be reformed if these regions – especially the Middle East and North Africa – are to contribute to international gas trade more as a source of exports than as a growing demand (and import) centre. However, reforms of gas (and energy) prices remain tentative because of the political economy logic in which they tend to be rooted and in which governments appear to be locked. This is not to say that solutions do not exist – remedies can be devised based on existing experiments and country-specific circumstances. This paper analyses the political economy of domestic pricing in gas-rich developing countries in the Middle East and Africa, and chronicles the pricing mechanisms in the main export and import contracts in these regions, helping assess the disconnect between domestic prices and international prices and its implications for gas use in these regions.
                    [post_title] => Issues in the pricing of domestic and internationally-traded gas in MENA and sub-Saharan Africa
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                    [post_content] => The events that took place in the Arab world in the opening months of 2011 mark a watershed in the history of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Given the importance of MENA energy supplies in global economic terms, the political unrest witnessed by the region has caused widespread fears about the prospect of energy supply disruptions. With international oil and gas prices beginning to rise from 2010, there was serious concern among market and political actors that any further increase in prices would put at risk the fragile recovery of the global economy from the deepest recession in decades. This paper examines the significance of the recent Arab uprisings and their implications for regional and global oil and gas markets. It argues that, although markets were able to cope resiliently in the short term, there remains much uncertainty about the likely longer-term implications of the recent events.
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                    [post_content] => This paper, by Hakim Darbouche, analyses the main drivers of Algeria's gas export strategy since the early 2000s. It argues that, after suffering a series of setbacks owing to the policy inconsistencies of the administration of former energy minister Chakib Khelil, Algeria's gas export strategy now faces a number of constraints as a result of changing market conditions. The situation inherited by the new leadership at Sonatrach and the Algerian energy ministry leaves limited options for the optimisation of Algeria's gas exports in the short to medium term. Up to about 2014, the maximisation of the value of available exports is highly likely to take precedence over the preservation of market share, while large parts of the country's gas export infrastructure will be under-utilised for most of the 2010s. To address this situation, decision-makers in Algeria will have to take meaningful action to improve the gas supply-demand balance.
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                    [post_content] => On January 28 2011, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies held a one-day conference on ‘Regulation of Oil Markets: Current Reforms and Implications’. The conference focused on 1) The inter-linkages between the physical and financial layers in the current international oil pricing system and the role of these linkages in the oil price discovery process; 2)An assessment and evaluation of the current regulatory reforms of oil derivatives and the implications of these regulatory changes on the price discovery process oil trading activity and the long-term strategies of market participants. The group of participants included key senior figures from government oil companies the financial industry and academia. The conference was conducted under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution.
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