Despite Shale, Middle East Remains Key to Oil Demand

“This is an important signal for the oil companies and refineries,” Birol noted.

Asia and non-OECD countries will play the main actors driving future energy demand growth, while OECD member countries such as the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan will have a negligible role in future demand growth.

IEA successfully forecast the role that China would play in new energy demand growth. However, India may overtake China in this role in the 2020s. Birol attributes this future shift to China’s major focuses on energy efficiency and rebalancing its economy from heavy to light industry, as well the significant slowdown in China’s population growth.

Middle Eastern countries’ consumption of oil will growth in less than 20 years’ time from 6.6 million barrels of oil per day (MMbopd) to 10 MMbopd, or the same level as current Chinese oil consumption. Electric power demand in the region also will grow, with the amount of electric power capacity and transmission and distribution lines on par with capacity in Japan and Korea, Birol noted.

US Shale Redefines Economic Competitiveness

The U.S. shale revolution has defined the economic competitiveness of the United States, Europe and other countries in terms of energy-intensive industries. Prior to the shale revolution, global gas prices were more or less on par with each. Today, European gas prices are three times higher than the United States, and Asian gas prices are five times higher than that of the United States.

“We believe the price differential may narrow a bit, but it will remain with us for some years to go,” Birol said.

IEA also forecasts a wide differential to remain between gas and electricity prices for some time.


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