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Letter from the Middle East: NOCs juggle priorities

From boosting oil production to throttling it back and with challenging oil and gas dynamics in both the short and longer-term, the region’s producers have their hands full

Opec machinations and the minutiae of the coronavirus’s impact on energy demand may attract most energy reporting attention, but the Middle East’s NOCs are quietly dealing with a set of unprecedented shocks to their businesses. So far, they are mostly managing, but their long-term plans have been cast into doubt. Before the pandemic, the region’s largest NOCs were planning for a gradual end to Opec+ cuts and at last beginning to regain market share; a need to expand their gas production to meet local demand and grow exports; and a gradual transition to a different set of demand and climate drivers. In line with these imperatives, they were investing in more challenging gas reservoirs, think

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