As the geopolitical and humanitarian crisis in Iraq continues to escalate, so has speculation as to its impact on the regional energy sector and economy. Bringing together a top-tier panel of experts to address these questions, the Capital Club, Dubai’s premier private city club and member of the ENSHAA group of companies, has organised and will be hosting a high-level discussion of the implications, risks and even possible opportunities being created by the situation in Iraq.
Taking place on Monday, the 8th of September, the panel discussion will be moderated by Gulf News Editor-at-Large Francis Matthew, and will feature Robin Mills, Head of Consulting at Manaar Energy Consulting; Jaafar Altaie, Managing Director at Manaar Energy Consulting; and Ali Khedery, Chairman and CEO of Dragoman Partners.
The background to the current crisis is well known, and its origins date back years and decades. However, in June the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, launched an offensive in Northern Iraq, specifically targeting Mosul. It has, since then, and to international horror, consolidated its power and reach, and united strange bedfellows in opposition to its territorial aspirations, brutality and the geopolitical and economic instability this is causing.
This instability is complex, and particularly acute considering Iraq’s custody of the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves, increasing since the end of the 2003 War, and which along with other hydrocarbon industries make up 72 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The ramifications of threats to Iraq’s sovereignty and control over the oil-rich north of the country, dragging Iraqi Kurds and potentially Turkish Kurds into the conflict as well, are manifold. They include the impact of crude oil prices, currency, capital flight, intra-regional trade, tourism, growth rates and the energy mix in the region. For the Gulf States’ many economic sectors that are affected by instability and unforeseeable energy prices and supply, understanding the scenarios ahead is paramount.
To this end, the Capital Club has assembled a first-rate panel of experts.
An expert on energy strategy and economics, Robin Mills has been described by Foreign Policy magazine as “one of the energy world’s great minds”. In his capacity as Head of Consulting at Manaar, he has led major consulting assignments for the EU and several international oil companies in Iraq. He had earlier developed new business in Iraq and Iran for Shell, and is the author of two books. Jaafar Altaie, who founded Manaar in 2009, was senior adviser in the Iraq Ministry of Oil during 2003-7, advising on economics and commercial negotiations, and previously worked for BP, Petrobras and Nomura.
Ali Khedery was previously an executive with ExxonMobil. He was the architect and chief political negotiator of the company’s historic billion-dollar entry into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, now home to the corporation’s most lucrative exploration contracts in the Middle East. Khedery also served as special assistant to five American ambassadors in Iraq and as senior adviser to three four-star chiefs of U.S. Central Command.
This event will draw on the decades of expertise and the holistic vantage point these speakers can provide, and will help to unravel the complex tapestry of consequences of the brutal and uncertain climate in Iraq today.