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Sat 12 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Optimism prevails

Cautious but upbeat mood in our first upstream survey.

This year has been fraught for many players in the upstream business. Exploration and production services took the hit early on, and many companies may still be feeling the pinch as we approach an all important fourth quarter.

However, green shoots, and in some cases full blown bouquets are popping up all over the Middle East for oil and gas service and equipment providers. Business models may have changed from the frenzied, let’s be honest, frantic activities that came to a head this time last year, but solid business deals are being done throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

For the September edition of Oil & Gas Middle East, I thought it was time to take stock, and speak to a broad range of upstream industry experts that partner the national oil companies and oilfield service providers, and get their take on where we are now. In the feature ‘Is less more?’, we hear that the region was not only the best positioned to cope with a bump in the road, but also that the all important capital projects to increase production capacity, are going ahead.

The consensus seems that Abu Dhabi is leading the charge for new development, and represents a great example of how the region remains a land of massive opportunity. An interesting, if somewhat unexpected theme which cropped up time and again with our expert panel, was the need for national oil companies in this region to embrace and really get behind green energy projects. Doing business in a more carbon constrained environment has been on the agenda for some years, but the winds of change blowing through the energy world bring with them the hint that major oil producers must invest in other energy sources to stay relevant in the coming century.

Nothing will diminish the need for more oil and gas over the next thirty years, that we do know. The key issue right now is whether NOCs in the Middle East treat the current cycle as an opportunity, or just another downturn. Daniel Canty is the group editor of ITP Business’ energy tiles.

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