In 2010, out of 24 Observer countries, 14 were from the MENA region. Between 2010 and 2015 there has been an increasing involvement of MENA countries in the Energy Charter Process:
- Energy Charter Treaty accession is pending in Pakistan, Yemen and Jordan, while the Secretariat is currently providing support to Morocco and Mauritania, which have confirmed their intention to accede to the Energy Charter Treaty in the near future;
- Israel, Lebanon and Iran are currently exploring the next steps towards greater involvement in the Energy Charter, including the possibility of signing the International Energy Charter which they adopted in The Hague;
- Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Qatar have also been showing interest in the Energy Charter Process.
The explicit MENA interest in the Energy Charter goes hand in hand with the regional and global energy dynamics. Adopting the standards of international law, investment protection and improving regulatory predictability is undoubtedly crucial for the countries in the region to secure investments across the energy value chain.
Fresh investments in the energy production in the Middle East are crucial, for both regional and global markets, if future oil supplies from the region are to be maintained. According to the IEA, the shortfall of investments in Middle East oil production could lead to the oil price peaking at $130/barrel in 2025.
To this end, the Energy Charter provides the necessary tools to increase market transparency, strengthen regulatory stability and thus provide greater security for the existing and prospective investors in the region.