OPEC Expects To Increase Market Domination

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' oil production and its domination of the oil market are expected to increase gradually over the next two decades, with the group's output rising to more than 50% of global oil demand by 2020, a recent OPEC study says. Global oil demand will increase from 75.8 million barrels a day in 2000 to 83.4 million b/d in 2005, 91.0 million b/d in 2010 and 105.8 million b/d in 2020, the study, released in Abu Dhabi Tuesday said.

Crude oil and condensates production of OPEC members states will rise from 30 million b/d in 2000 to 53.4 million b/d in 2020, which will enable OPEC to dominate the international oil market. OPEC's market share will gradually increase from 39.5% in 2000, to 40.8% in 2005, 42.4% in 2010, 46.7% in 2015 and 50.5% in 2020. The study based its bullish forecast on expectations of world economic growth of 3.1% a year in 2000-05, 3.4% in 2005-10 and 3.3% in 2010-20.

The study predicted the nominal OPEC basket price will average $25 a barrel over the next 10 years and would likely rise slightly above this level after 2010 in tandem with global inflation.

OPEC's official price target is $22-$28 barrel, although the group has suspended it amid the current global economic downturn. Tuesday, the OPEC basket price was $18.38/bbl.

The study was released by director of OPEC research department Adnan Shihab Eldin on the sidelines of energy experts conference held in Abu Dhabi Jan. 28-29. The participants at the meeting reached "a realistic conviction" on the importance of OPEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council member-states in providing sufficient oil supplies to the world in the next 10 years, compared with other regions, said GCC assistant secretary general for economic affairs Ajlan al-Kuwari.

The GCC comprises oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Forecasts of future oil market trends were very close between producer and consumer officials at the conference, "a matter which underlined the possibility of improving the exchange of information on oil reserves and strategic stocks between two sides," al-Kuwari added.