Investing in MENA in 2017 – opportunities and challenges

February 22, 2017


MENA, whilst clearly something of a powerhouse for energy, is also among the world’s most erratic regions – meaning that it’s rarely straightforward an investment prospect – especially for newcomers.


Mourad Idoudi has been involved in this field for almost a quarter of a century and so few offer as much insight into the opportunities and challenges of doing so – ahead of his participation at Comrisk as a speaker, see some of his insight below!


What kinds of opportunities have risen in the MENA region?


The MENA region, home to more than half of the world’s crude oil and more than a third of its natural gas reserves, has for the past fifty years gained enormous significance as the region’s economic importance far outweighs its market size.


 The MENA markets seemingly become more mature by carrying a vast and largely available opportunities for climate of investment (such as Natural Gas, Renewable Energy) to the prospect of existing projects through initial state offerings to become more feasible, following a resurgence in the regional market. 


The new MENA products in energy market today will require structural reform of regional energy market and smooth mechanisms, thereby rationalizing the use of different energy sources in each domestic market.


MENA authorities are taking steps to boost regional and global investor confidence and attract them to the new markets, including streamlining rules to encourage investment.

“The ‘new comers’ should look out for the way forward by MENA governments to develop strategies for promoting inclusive economic growth, offering suitable opportunities for investment and, building on improved governance, transparency, and the rule of law.”

Are there any challenges you are currently facing in the region? What should the ‘new comers’ look out for?


The challenges facing the MENA region are some of which have been brought to light even further by the Arab Spring. The region’s market performance over past years impact of recent events.


In fact, the climate of instability has brought to light key challenges in the MENA region that had already existed for some time.


The ‘new comers’ should look out for the way forward by MENA governments to develop strategies for promoting inclusive economic growth, offering suitable opportunities for investment and, building on improved governance, transparency, and the rule of law.


Those strategies need to break with a past and to centre on the development of a competitive public-private sector, which can provide economic opportunities that correspond to market aspirations.


Any chance you can give us a preview of the topic you’ll address at COMRISK: “Managing the risks in emerging markets or emerging products”?


In Tunisia we are now in process of developing existing and future gas fields where parties endeavour to unify their development scheme in order to secure the maximum recovery of hydrocarbon and to enhance competitiveness.  This situation is unprecedented in Tunisia and in the MENA region as whole.


Coping with different contractual, legal, technical challenges pertaining to this situation presents an ample proof of the flexibility of the Tunisian energy market.


Within the boundaries of these particular projects, Tunisia will ensure an appropriate energy supply satisfaction for the local market. This becomes more than ever true where there will be a turning point to be an emergent market for investors that can bring them to think deeply about exploiting other products such as shale or LNG, however practical they may be, through the specific opportunities of this first experience in Tunisia.


See more:


- The Implications of Political Risk on Market Risk: How to commercially manage this risk

- Desertification is a natural risk management procedure?

- Take it or leave it?

- Risk Management along the metals supply chain

- Tunisia's most bankable sector?

- Cracking emerging markets with one of Africa's largest agri firms

- Will 2017 be the year oils enter a balanced market?

- "Investment banking can provide a real innovation for the trade industry"




Mourad Idoudi, Head of Petroleum Agreements, ETAP

Researcher in law and holds a Master’s Degree in Private Law, his thesis is about, in particular, the complex contracts such as the hydrocarbon ones, Head of the legal Department in charge of Oil and Gas Contracts, he deals with the negotiation and analyses of  Tunisian Oil and Gas Agreements; ; a member of the Association « Young ICCA »-a global network working to promote the use of International Commercial Arbitration under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)-- and a Member of the Association ICDR Young & International networking group for practitioners of arbitration and ADR; has actively participated in many international conferences on Oil and Gas, among the main recent ones are:

  • Workshop “Certificate in International Commercial and Investment Arbitration: Theory and Practice” organized in partnership with the International Chamber, Italian Association of Arbitration and Milan Chamber of Association; Rome-Italy 21-25 September 2015.

  • Mediterranean Oil and Gas Summit organized by IRN, Rome-Italy May 2016.

  • International Conference “5th IEL-SEERIL International Oil and  Gas Law Conference” organized by International Bar Association (IBA), Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) and Institute for Energy Law (IEL); London- UK 3-5 June 2015.



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