According to MEED Insight’s MENA Oil and Gas Report 2017, about $294b of oil, gas, and petrochemicals projects are in the pre-execution phase across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, even as concerns about global oversupply continue to suppress oil prices, Hellenic Shipping News informed.

Gas spending is set to further increase as countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE study higher-cost sour gas and shale gas plans to meet rapidly-growing domestic demand.

MEED’s Editorial Director, Richard Thompson, said: “The oil, gas, and petrochemicals sectors will continue to be the backbone of economies across the MENA region.”

According to him, “with an estimated $294b-worth of projects in the pre-execution phase, the sector provides a wealth of opportunity for business from Saudi Arabia’s ambitious oil-to-chemicals complex to the re-emergence of the Iran oil industry following years of sanctions.”

Oil producers across the MENA region have been continuing to spend heavily on oil, gas, and petrochemicals’ production capacity despite the fall in oil prices since 2014, Times of Oman reported. However, the investments in hydrocarbon industry across the region recorded an eight-year low in 2016, dropping 34% to $32.4b.