Production soars to historic high
But regional demand is rising as well
- Production: Iran and Qatar lead production in a gas-rich region
- Demand: Iran consumes the largest share of the region’s gas
Record production yields export potential of 120 billion cubic metres
In 2017, the Middle East produced more gas than ever – a total of 660 billion cubic metres. This was an 80% increase during the course of a decade. The most significant increases were in Qatar, which added 110 billion cubic metres and Iran, which increased its output by 100 billion cubic metres.
Within the region, virtually every producing country surpassed its previous output. Only Qatar’s fell just short of its previous record output in 2016.
As in previous years, the region’s biggest producer was Iran, accounting for 34% of Middle Eastern gas. Qatar was second with 27% and Saudi Arabia followed with 17% of the total. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) produced 9% of the regional total.
Volumes of this scale enable massive exports. In 2017, Qatar was the region’s largest exporter, averaging 150 billion cubic meters in foreign sales over the past five years.
Iran retains about three quarters of its production to satisfy its domestic demand. Every year, for the past decade, Iran has had an export potential of more than 40 billion cubic meters.
Record regional demand provides new challenges
Increasing prosperity and diversification have raised regional demand for gas to unprecedented levels. In 2017, the region consumed 536 billion cubic metres – an increase of 70% in the past 10 years.
Iran is the region’s largest gas consumer, accounting for 40% of demand in 2017.
Saudi Arabia, which consumes 21% of gas in the region, has increased production to meet its own demand yet its Production Indicator has dropped from 131% in 2007 to 118% in 2017.
In 2017, The UAE, as a result of demand that has grown by 33% in five years, has seen its Production Indicator drop from 110% to 95% in 2017. In consequence, it is now a net importer of natural gas and accounts for 14% of regional consumption.
Qatar, the largest producer, is consuming 9% of the region’s gas.
What remains and where
All told, the Middle East holds 41% of the world’s proven gas reserves.
Iran has 42% of that regional share. Qatar is in second place with 32%. Saudi Arabia’s share is 10%, while the UAE has 8%.
Growth in gas stimulates training expansion
Over the last 10 years, the oil and gas industry has experienced continued growth in the utilisation of OPITO training in the Middle East region as employers continue to recognise the value of consistent Industry recognised Training Standards and adopt these standards within their own organisations and across the region as a whole.
For example, in 2017, over 116,000 people were trained using OPITO Standards at OPITO approved training centres across the Middle East region. This figure shows an increase of 12% over the last 2 years. At OPITO, we expect this growth trend to continue in 2019.
The training market in the region has continued to adapt to the demand from employers for a wider range of OPITO Standards to be made available which has resulted in over 20 new training centre approvals in the last 12 months. Approved OPITO training centres continue to expand the range of standards that they are able to offer.
OPITO continue to support the stakeholders in the Middle East region primarily through our base in Dubai, UAE and through our Employer and Training Provider networks. To ensure that activity in the region continues to meet the requirements of employers, 2018 saw the appointment of OPITO’s first Middle East and Africa Vice President whose role is to focus on the strategic development of industry recognised training across the region.
John McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, OPITO