Overline: GIGA-IASS Joint Webinar
Headline: Gulf Hydrogen Horizons: Why Are Gulf Oil and Gas Producers so Keen on Hydrogen?

This webinar examines the recent interest in hydrogen energy among political and economic leaders in the oil and gas producing states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The region has seen many new “post-oil” energy investments over the past decade, but hydrogen energy has recently spiked in interest among Gulf oil and gas producers – especially among the state-owned hydrocarbon giants in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The event begins with a presentation from Prof. Dr. Natalie Koch, whose recent IASS Discussion Paper, “Gulf hydrogen horizons,” poses the question of why the GCC’s political and corporate leaders are keen on promoting hydrogen energy systems in the region, and how this fits with the Germany governments recent effort to promote hydrogen energy systems internationally. Discussants Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz, Dr. Cinzia Bianco, Dr. Dawud Ansari, and Dr. Benjamin Schütze draw on their expertise in the Middle East and energy geopolitics to raise further questions about the future of hydrogen energy development in Europe and beyond.


Prof. Dr. Natalie Koch is currently Professor of Human Geography at Heidelberg University and previously a Visiting Fellow at IASS-Potsdam. She is a political geographer who works on geopolitics, authoritarianism, and environmental geopolitics in hydrocarbon-rich countries, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder (USA).


Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz is director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg and professor for contemporary history and politics of the Middle East at the Universität Hamburg. He holds a PhD in Economics from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany).

Dr. Cinzia Bianco is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, where she is working on political, security and energy developments in the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region and relations with Europe. She is also a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. She holds a PhD in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter (United Kingdom).

Dr. Dawud Ansari is a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the director of the Energy Access and Development Program (EADP), and an independent consultant. His research focuses on global energy, sustainable development, the geopolitics of hydrogen, and the political economy of resources, especially in the Arab world. He holds a PhD in Resource Economics from Humboldt University (Germany).

Dr. Benjamin Schütze is head of a DFG-funded Emmy Noether Research Group at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute (ABI) and member of the Young Academy for Sustainability Research at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). His work focuses on the political economy of renewables, transnational authoritarian practices and ‘democracy promotion’ interventions. He holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from SOAS, University of London (United Kingdom).


Dr. Rainer Quitzow leads the Energy research group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam (IASS-Potsdam). His work focuses on questions of geopolitics and industrial policy in the context of the transition to climate neutrality. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany).

The IASS Potsdam has received financial support from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office within the project “Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: Implications of an International Hydrogen Economy” to conduct this event.

Cooperation Partners

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V.

German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)


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