Despite Shale, Middle East Remains Key to Oil Demand



U.S. shale oil production is expected to keep rising until the 2020s, but will then plateau. A slowdown in production is expected to occur in the following decade. In order to meet global oil demand growth, oil from the Middle East as well as new sources such as Brazil, Canada and Russia, will be needed to satisfy Asia oil demand, Birol said.

Shale, Nuclear Policies Rewriting Energy Play

The shale revolution, changes in nuclear energy policies in a number of countries following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and specific pricing policies that give advantages or disadvantages to renewables and fossil fuels, are reshaping long-held tenets of the energy sector.

The roles and identities of actors in the global energy sector theater are also changing, with countries such as the United States and Brazil emerging as potential energy exporters. At the same time, some countries that have historically acted as energy exporters are seeing domestic energy demand rising at home, to the point that they are impacting the global energy market as well consumers as well as exporters. Over the past four to five years, consumption of not only oil but other fuels in the Middle East ranked only second behind China, Birol noted.

Trade patterns also are changing for countries such as Canada. In the past, Canadian oil and gas was imported to the United States, but the U.S. shale gas and oil boom has cut into Canadian imports. The Canadian government, in its search for a new market for its resources, has made a huge turn towards Asian countries. Over the past 24 months, Canadian government officials have made a number of visits to Asia.

Russia is also eying Asia as it seeks a new destination for its oil and gas as its previously loyal client Europe looks for new energy resources.

“Countries that can read the changes in trade patterns will be able to position themselves at an advantage,” said Birol.

China, India and the Middle East will also create much of the new demand for oil compared with Organisation of Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) countries. Oil demand growth will primarily occur in transportation, including personal cars and freight, and the petrochemical industries of these nations, Birol said. IEA forecasts Asian trucks will comprise one-third of global oil demand, due to the anticipated growth in diesel and gasoline demand in Asian countries.


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