New winds over the Middle East and North Africa – Promises and Risks following the “Arab Spring” in 2011

Datum: 2011-10-10


Staffan Riben, chairman of NOG's Program Committee


  • Inga Brandell, Ph.D., Asst. Professor at Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences
  • Emma Sky, Visiting Professor at Kings's College, London, War Studies Department
  • Bassam Fattouh, Ph.D., Director Oil and the Middle East Programme at Oxford Institute of Energy Studies; Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, St. Anthony's College, Oxford University

Since December 2010, civil protests and uprisings have spread rapidly across the Middle East and North Africa (often referred to as the MENA region). This wave of popular protests and call for change, with young activists as vanguard, has been named the "Arab Spring". In Tunisia and Egypt, and now also Libya, established regimes have been overthrown; massive demonstrations have destabilized Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, and been met harshly. Popular protests have affected several other countries in the MENA region, which already before was affected by complicated political conflicts. The region is also crucial to the world's energy supply; it holds some 60 % of the reported, proved reserves of oil and 45 % of gas reserves. Nearly all the spare capacity in oil production in the world is here.

At the seminar, we will highlight the complex forces that are at play and discuss the conditions that will shape the political development in the different key countries of the region. Which promises and pitfalls can we see? Democracy, new autocracy or sectarianism? We will also examine the consequences of the political changes for the world's oil and gas markets, for MENA as an oil and gas producing region, and describe the scenarios that may constitute major risks for the world's energy supply.