The Arab Spring and National Oil Companies: Hidden Effects and Stalled Reforms
The violent uprisings that have convulsed the Arab world since late 2010 appeared to bypass most of the region’s major energy exporting states. With the exception of Libya, the countries with the most virulent uprisings play minor roles in world markets. But the lack of unrest does not mean that the region’s national oil companies (NOCs) escaped unscathed. Regime reactions to the Arab Spring contributed to increased revenue and patronage demands on these firms as a way of counteracting political opposition. Several authors find that these political objectives are behind inefficient operations in NOCs relative to shareholder-owned counterparts. I argue that not only political objectives but also specific political events contribute to inefficiencies.