As oil prices race past $140 a barrel, and with the world desperate for Middle East oil and gas, the region’s oil companies could think that they have no need to listen to what their suppliers and foreign partners think of them. But they would be foolish not to.

MEED’s second annual survey of the region’s national oil companies (NOCs) shows there remains much scope for improvement within the firms.

All companies have been hit by a lack of material and resources in the contracting sector but project delays have been exacerbated by bureaucracy, a lack of transparency and slow decision-making – which is often highly politicised, particularly in Libya and Iran.

Although scoring highly on working with international firms is extremely important for the region’s NOCs, there is also room for improvement here.

NOCs need the international oil majors for their technical expertise and access to new markets overseas as they seek to diversify their investments.

Being more open, preventing excessive political interference, and in some cases reviewing the contract terms on offer, will encourage greater partnership and transfer of skills and technology – gains that are much needed across the region.

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