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Maritime and Energy Security in the Gulf

Report of the joint Study Day

Format: PDF   Size: 1.6 MB   Date: Dec 2021   Pages: 34    Copyright: NATO – ICI Regional Centre & NATO Strategic Direction – South HUB   Tags: Maritime Security - Energy Security - Oil -Gas - Gulf region - Maritime Chokepoints - Energy Supply - Renewable Energies

The Gulf region contains some of the primary and most transited maritime energy corridors in the world. Therefore, chokepoints along these maritime routes have a fundamental part to play in global energy security. However, maritime transit in the Gulf has often been disrupted by accidents, terrorist attacks and piracy.

To gain a better understanding of the maritime and energy security dynamics in the Gulf, on 6 October 2021, NATO-ICI Regional Center and the NATO Strategic Direction South-Hub held a joint Study Day to discuss "Maritime and Energy Security in the Gulf".


The Gulf States hold massive hydrocarbon resources, almost half of proven global oil reserves and one third of those of natural gas. Chokepoints, narrow channels along widely used sea routes, are critical in the maritime transit of oil and natural gas and, therefore, to global energy security. International markets depend on reliable transport routes, and blocking a chokepoint, even temporarily, can lead to substantial increases in costs and prices.

Oil alone cannot support GCC economies going forward - even at high prices.

This report compiles the main findings of the experts invited to the Study Day. It contributes to a more comprehensive and strategic understanding of the potential threats and opportunities related to energy and maritime security in the Gulf.

Research questions:

1. How will the Gulf region remain relevant as a global energy supplier over the next decade?

2. What are the dynamics affecting maritime and energy security in the Gulf?

3. What are the strategic/global implications of maritime energy corridors/choke points in the Gulf?

4. What are the security and geopolitical issues that could affect the stability of the Gulf?

5. What is the regional/global potential for renewable energies and what is their share in the energy mix of the Gulf countries?

Key insights

  • Oil alone cannot support GCC economies going forward, even at high prices. The Gulf region has been exploring and developing areas of economy diversification.
  • Global energy demand is steadily increasing each year due to demographic growth, industrial expansion and developing economies.
  • The global demand for oil as a share of the energy market is declining.
  • The transport of goods by sea remains the most efficient mode of transport and, as such, will remain the preferred mode.
  • Maritime Chokepoints are not only critical to the Gulf region, but ultimately to global maritime energy security.
  • The Gulf region will remain a crucial supply hub for the global energy market, especially for oil, for the foreseeable future.

Story by The Southern Hub


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