Energy in the Middle East

Energy in the Middle East describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in the Middle East. Energy policy of the Middle East will describe the politics of the Middle East related to energy more in detail.

Primary energy use

Primary energy in the Middle East 2008[1]
# TWh Capita Capita growth
2Saudi Arabia1,87924.652.9%76
5United Arab Emirates6804.483.7%152
7Kuwait3062.7311.0 %112
8Qatar2811.2864.1 %219
10Syria22921,2314.3 %11
12Bahrain1070.776.9 %139
15Lebanon614.1416.9 %15
Mtoe = 11.63 TWh. Prim. energy includes energy losses

Energy export

Energy export from the Middle East in 2010 [2]
# TWh  %
1Saudi Arabia4,55137.2%
5United Arab Emirates1,1299.2%
Total: Middle East12,228100%

Energy export from the Middle East in 2010 was 12,228 TWh. The major exporters were Saudi Arabia 37.2%, Qatar 14.3% and Iran 12.9%.[2]


In 2009 the largest share of oil production was in the Middle East (24 million barrels daily, or 31 per cent of global production). According to Transparency International based on BP data regionally the largest share of proved oil reserves is in the Middle East (754 billion barrels, constituting 51 per cent of global reserves including oil sands and 57 per cent excluding them). According to BP of the world oil reserves were in Saudi Arabia 18%, Iran 9%, Iraq 8%, Kuwait 7% and UAE 7%.[3]

In June 2015, Jim Hollis, CEO of NEOS, during “Oil and Gas: Governance and Integration” forum, stated that Lebanon’s potential offshore natural gas reserves are estimated at 25 trillion cubic feet, according to initial estimates carried out in the country's exclusive economic zone.

Natural gas

Middle Eastern countries possess about 41 per cent of natural gas reserves. According to BP in 2009 of the proved gas reserves were in Iran 16% and Qatar 14%.[3]


Major energy companies in the Middle East include Saudi Aramco, Qatar Petroleum, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation KPC and National Iranian Oil Company NIOC.

Arab Region

The Arab region which includes Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauretania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, hold approximately 60% of the world's oil reserves, and 30% of the world's gas reserves. The Arab region is highly dependable on the energy sector because it is the basis of its recent development. The energy sector represents approximately 40% of the Arab region's GDP.[4] However, due to rapid increase in population, industrial and agricultural development, electricity consumption has increased dramatically in the region. In fact, the region's electricity consumption growth rate was registered at 7.9% per year in 2010 while the region's cumulative GDP growth rate at 3.9% during the same year.[5]

The Arab region is facing a huge influx of energy demand coming from rapidly growing energy intensive urban industrial cities. A significant portion of the energy demand is due to water desalination plants. The interrelationship of exerting energy to produce water and vice versa is a concept known as Energy-Water-Nexus. These rapidly growing cities are experiencing world's fastest rates of energy consumption per capita, which also means enormous amount of water consumption as well. If this demand was not mitigated, it will drastically decrease the exported energy from the Arab region because most of it will have to be used within the region to meet its own demand. Consequently, economic instability will arise due to enormous lost in revenue.[6] [7]

Climate change

Several Middle Eastern countries are among the world's top carbon dioxide emitters per capita: World dirty top countries were in 2009 (tonnes/capita): 1) Gibraltar 152, 2) Virgin Islands U,S 114, 3) Qatar 80, 4) Netherlands Antilles 51, 5) Bahrain 43. 6) United Arab Emirates 40, 7) Trinidad and Tobago 39, Singapore 34 and Kuwait 32.[8] All emissions from building and cement production are local but some people may argue that some United Arab Emirates produced fuels and/or goods are consumed abroad.[9] One of the biggest sources of emissions in the Middle East is air conditioning, a virtual necessity in the region's often torrid climate. Per capita use of air conditioning in the Middle East is currently far lower than in the United States, but is expected to increase.[10]


  1. IEA Key energy statistics 2010 Page: Country specific indicator numbers from page 48
  2. IEA Key World Energy Statistics 2012, Country specific indicator numbers from page 48
  3. 2011 report on oil and gas companies, Promoting revenue Transparency Transparency International 2011 pages 113-115
  4. Fattouh B, El Katiri L (2012) Energy and subsidies in the Arab world. UNDP Arab Human Development Report Research Paper Series, Regional Bureau for Arab States, New York
  5. RCREEE (2015) Arab Future Energy Index (AFEX). Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), Cairo, Egypt
  6. Amer, Kamel, et al., editors. The Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus in the Arab Region. 1st ed., ser. 2367-4008, Springer International Publishing, 2017.
  7. Badran, Adnan, et al., editors. Water, Energy, & Food Sustainability in the Middle East. 1st ed., ser. 978-3-319-48920-9, Springer International Publishing, 2017.
  8. World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest Guardian 31 January 2011
  9. Which nations are most responsible for climate change? Guardian 21 April 2011
  10. "Kigali climate change deal: Will the Middle East keep its cool?". Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy. 25 October 2016.

See also