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Qatar Ministry of Finance H. E. Youssef Hussein Kamal inaugurated the conference works at Ritz Carlton Doha on Mon 19 of March,2007

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Warning over energy security
Gulf Times ?
21 March, 2007, 08:38 AM Doha Time

Business Reporter

(From left to right) Alkadiri, Crutchfield, al-Jaidah and Leverett at the conference

ENERGY security is in a state of flux because of declining US influence in the Middle East and oil producers face more risk due to Washington’s strategically “faulty� foreign policies, which are more confrontationist than co-operative, according to experts.
Energy consumers should have stronger voice in the market, and India and China should be members, rather than as observers, in the International Energy Agency (IEA), they felt. “Such a change may empower Asian giants to bargain hard for hydrocarbon payments in currencies other than the dollar.’’
The balance of power and energy security in the Middle East region are in a state of flux because of the ongoing decline in the US stand and influence in the region, Flynt Leverett, director, Geopolitics of Energy Initiative, New America Foundation, told �Enriching the Middle East Economic Future’ conference, which concludes on Doha today.
“The US has made some poor strategic choices in this part of the world and the declining US influence will have implications in the Middle East region in energy balance,� he said at a session, presided over by Qatar Petroleum director of oil and gas Nasser al-Jaidah.
Observing that since World War II the US had not had any direct military role, Leverett said by 1980s Washington had assumed that role and consolidated it after the first Gulf war.
He, however, said there was a growing realisation that the Middle East was becoming an important player in the global energy balance, going by the “exploding� energy demand.
Asserting that it was high time to reinvent the regime to include the energy consumers, especially the fast-growing and high-energy consuming economies like China and India, Laverette said those countries should be given membership into the IEA.
Echoing the views of Laverette, PFC energy senior dDirector (country strategies in the markets) Raad Alkadiri said one of the risks that the oil companies faced in the Middle East was related to the US foreign policies rather than the internal problems in the region.
Referring to the Western world’s view that Middle East as unstable and unreliable, he said “that danger has still not disappeared.�
Citing a study, he said the demand for gas is expected to grow 75% in the next 10 years and the Middle East would be an important demand centre and Qatar would occupy a central place in the world economy.
Alex Crutchfield of Oasis Partners said India and China had natural ties with the Middle East and their demand for hydrocarbons would grow significantly and they might even take a lead in oil bills to be made in currencies other than dollars.
“Eventually, it has to happen,� he said without elaborating on the time by which it could happen

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