BCDR International Arbitration Review
June 2020 – Volume 7 Issue 1
Page 225

ICSID and Investor-State Petroleum Disputes in the MENA Region
Antonio R. Parra


MENA countries have long been important participants in the ICSID system. Several ICSID "firsts" are associated with MENA countries: the first signatory of the ICSID Convention, the first ICSID case, and the first "arbitration without privity."
This note examines the current (as of the end of 2020) ICSID caseload of MENA countries, including the sectoral distribution of the cases. Paradoxically, for a region so rich in petroleum resources, relatively few of the cases have involved oil and gas disputes. The note discusses possible reasons for this. It concludes by suggesting that in appropriate cases MENA countries might find ICSID's proposed new mediation mechanism an attractive option for the settlement of petroleum investment disputes.