As oil prices rose above US$70/bbl, investor confidence returned. Big oil was back in the Middle East, with a bumper year for project sanctions. The MENA region accounted for over 40% of global sanctioned volumes. In addition, over 15 billion barrels of discovered resources were awarded during the year - dominated by the re-licensing of Abu Dhabi's former ADMA concession. 2018 was a record year for M&A in MENA, buoyed by deals in two of the regions largest gas projects. Regional production was up by over 1 million boe/d compared to the year earlier - dominated by significant increases in gas production. However, investment was down in 2018, despite ongoing high levels of activity. Investors continued to benefit from low service sector costs but also many large projects neared completion. Our review of 2018 provides the key statistics for a big year in MENA, including investment trends, M&A, exploration, project sanctions and production.