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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Oil and gas play a paramount role in economic development, the domestic social contract, and the international relations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This chapter analyzes the historic development of the oil, gas, and refining sectors in various MENA countries and the rising domestic energy consumption and other factors behind current transitions toward renewables and nuclear energy. Economic diversification has become an urgent development priority to provide jobs for a youthful population. This entails a balancing act between the public sector and business communities. Renewables, nuclear energy, and natural gas can help to free oil for export that is currently consumed domestically, but on their own they do not provide comparable rent income to the region’s rentier states. Energy transitions are not only a technical and economic matter, but also have social and political implications.

Keywords: energy transitions, oil and gas, Middle East and North Africa, rentier state theory, authoritarian regimes, resource curse, economic diversification, environmental history, comparative area studies, urban studies

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