NARCO CLOSEHOLD: North Africa Oil & Gas Summit

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The North Africa Oil and Gas Summit in Algiers last week was a challenging event. To a large degree it reflected a region that is less and less cohesive and very much in flux. The region’s different countries are on different political and security trajectories and their hydrocarbons sectors are at different stages, presenting different profiles and different risks.

The region has never really rowed together, but this seems to be even more the case these days. Algeria’s energy sector is in the midst of yet another course correction (although shifting one or two degrees to port or starboard is hardly changing course.) Depending on your risk threshold, Libya is either a war zone or at least a potentially very dangerous place. Tunisia is marketing its oil and gas sector, but not aggressively and without any urgency. Likewise, Morocco is still reliable and predictable, but the Palace’s emphasis as of late is on renewables, not fossil fuels.

But as with all conferences, it’s perhaps as telling to see who doesn’t come as who does and the conversations on the sidelines are without a doubt more interesting than the formal presentations.

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