"The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows"

Aristotle Onassis

Meeting: May 7, 2018: An energy transition for the Arab oil producers of the GCC — how real, how likely and can we get there?

This interactive discussion of the Brussels Energy Club was a special session in association with the NGO Access for Women in Energy and addressed the topic of:


An energy transition for the Arab oil producers of the GCC — how real, how likely and can we get there?


And took place on Monday May 7 2018, 4-8pm @ TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040


With special guest discussion opener:


Dr Carole Nakhle

Dr Carole Nakhle

Founder and CEO, Crystol Energy, London

Director, Access for Women in Energy (NGO)



In our time of early in the 21st Century, Europe (particularly the EU) often presents itself as the champion of what is now often referred to as the energy transition. While many political voices in Europe have long called for the need to decarbonise the energy supply in wake of expanding momentum in the climate change debate, Brussels is increasingly seeking to sell the energy transition to stakeholders world-wide. Whether other countries are taking the lead from Europe"s efforts to export the concept of transition to lower carbon economies is debatable, however. Important regions of the world in the sphere of both energy consumption and production at the global level are demonstrating a mixed record with respect to the policies and practices they are adopting in order to reduce emissions and promote decarbonisation more broadly.

That said, there does appear to be strong traction being made in the quest to embrace renewable energy sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuel production and promote more sustainable, far reaching forms of development amongst the oil producing Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Arab oil producers such as the United Arab Emirates for example, where oil production has formed the mainstay of the economy for several decades, are building carbon free cities and hosting some of the world"s largest forums on renewable energy. At the same time their policy makers are increasingly involved in debates about energy efficiency, diversification and non-conventional energy sources.

Has the energy transition reached the GCC and are Arab oil producers increasingly on the same page as the EU when it comes to a sustainable energy future?  A comprehensive evaluation of this intriguing question awaited participants at the next BREC meeting on May 7, when Dr Carole Nakhle visited Brussels in order to offer some answers. Indeed, while diversification and efficient use of energy makes sense to most of us, putting such strategies into practice is not always easy when economies have become so conditioned on producing conventional energy from fossil fuels. Many factors will impact upon the type of energy mix that we will see in GCC countries in years to come, including pricing, investment, demand side technologies as well as geopolitical factors. That said, BREC believes that we have room for optimism in this regard. 


Program May 7, 2018: 16.00 — 20.00:

  • Arrival of members and guests leading into welcome cocktail   
  • Setting out the debate by Dr Marat Terterov, Initiator and Founder, Brussels Energy Club,
  • Presentation by Dr Carole Nakhle starting at 16.30
  • Roundtable discussion with meeting participants (NB: the Chatham House Rule will apply).
  • Our traditional networking reception with gala buffet will follow the main discussions


Speaker information


Dr Carole Nakhle is the founder and CEO of Crystol Energy. An Energy Economist, she has worked with oil and gas companies, governments and policy makers, international organizations, academic institutions and think tanks, globally. She is active on the Governing Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute Institute and Advisory Board of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a program advisor to the Washington based International Tax and Investment Centre, and regular contributor to Geopolitical Intelligence Services and the Executive Sessions on the Political Economy of Extractive Industries at Columbia University in New York. She is also involved in the OECD Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development and lectures at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, University of Surrey in the UK, and Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

With numerous publications to her credit, Dr Nakhle is also an avid commentator on energy in the international media and is the Executive Editor of Newsweek"s special edition "The Future of Innovation in the Oil and Gas Industry".

She is the author of two widely acclaimed books: Petroleum Taxation: Sharing the Wealth published in 2008, re-printed in 2012, and used as primary reference in leading universities and industry training courses; and Out of the Energy Labyrinth (2007), co-authored with Lord David Howell, former Secretary of State for Energy in the UK.

Dr Nakhle has worked on energy projects in more than 45 countries and has been on exploratory visits to the Arctic and North Sea. She is also the director of the not-for-profit organization "Access for Women in Energy", which she founded in 2007 to support the development of women in the energy sector, worldwide.

In 2017, she gave evidence to the UK Parliament International Relations Committee on oil markets and the transformation of power in the Middle East and implications for the UK policy. In the same year, she received the Honorary Professional Recognition Award from the Tunisian Minister of Energy, Mines & Renewable Energy.


Further information

Participation in the interactive discussion at TUSIAD venue will be free of charge for members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club, and free of charge for AccessWIE members. For more information please contact Ben McPherson on research@brusselsenergyclub.org.

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