Gulf Daily News - Bahrain
June 25, 2008
BRUSSELS: There will be a slight drop in demand for Opec oil by 2012 followed by considerable uncertainty over demand growth to 2020 or how much to invest in meeting it, a document tabled at EU-Opec talks showed yesterday.
Opec currently pumps about 32 million barrels per day (bpd), but changes in climate policy, increases in car ownership in developing countries and moves by non-Opec oil producers could drastically alter consumption patterns.
Opec supplies could dip to around 31m bpd in 2012, before climbing again, but with a wide range of scenarios, said the document. Non-Opec supplies could climb by around 10 per cent to 55m bpd by 2012 as alternatives such as biofuels play a bigger part in the energy mix, the paper added.
Opec had been meeting with EU ministers in Brussels to look for ways of soothing sky high oil prices after protests about fuel prices from Brussels to Barcelona and fears energy costs are slowing growth in the euro zone and fuelling inflation.
The European Commission last week said the most effective response would be pushing ahead with climate and energy reforms to reduce the EU's dependence on imported oil.
But while welcoming a broader energy mix, Opec said policy changes made investment decisions more difficult.
"The recent policy proposals to address climate change and renewables targets could have substantial impacts upon the amount of oil that would need to be supplied by Opec," said the report.
As a result, Opec faces considerable uncertainty over how much to invest in supplying oil, with crude demand seen in the range of 29m to 38m bpd by 2020. "Scenarios for the call on crude oil suggest that the range of uncertainty for Opec oil is considerable," it added.