Surge in global oil supply may overtake demand in 2018

The sun sets over the Total refinery on the Loire River off Donges, western France. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Surge in global oil supply may overtake demand in 2018

LONDON: The rise in global oil production, led by the US, is likely to outpace growth in demand this year, the International Energy Agency said yesterday.
The Paris-based IEA raised its forecast for oil demand growth in 2018 to 1.4 million barrels per day, from a previous projection of 1.3 million bpd, after the International Monetary Fund upped its estimate of global economic growth for this year and next.
Oil demand grew at a rate of 1.6 million bpd in 2017, the IEA said in its monthly market report.
However, the rapid rise in output, particularly in the US, could well outweigh any pick-up in demand and begin to push up global oil inventories, which are now within sight of their five-year average.
“Today, having cut costs dramatically, US producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth,” the IEA said.
“In just three months to November, (US) crude output increased by a colossal 846,000 bpd and will soon overtake that of Saudi Arabia. By the end of this year, it might also overtake Russia to become the global leader.”
US crude output could reach 11 million bpd by the end of the year, according to estimates from the US Energy Information Administration.
OPEC, along with other exporters such as Russia, have agreed to maintain a joint restriction on crude supply for a second year running in 2018, to force inventories to drain and support prices.
Oil inventories across the world’s richest nations fell by 55.6 million barrels in December to 2.851 billion barrels, their steepest one-month drop since February 2011, the IEA said.
For 2017 as a whole, inventories fell by 154 million barrels, or at a rate of 420,000 bpd. By the year-end they were only 52 million barrels above the five-year average, with stocks of oil products below that benchmark, the IEA said.
“With the surplus having shrunk so dramatically, the success of the output agreement might be close to hand. This, however, is not necessarily the case: Oil price rises have come to a halt and gone into reverse, and, according to our supply/demand balance, so might the decline in oil stocks, at least in the early part of this year.”
Oil production outside OPEC nations fell by 175,000 bpd in January to 58.6 million bpd, but was still 1.3 million bpd higher than January last year, predominantly because of the 1.3-million-bpd year-on-year increase in US output.
OPEC output was largely steady at 32.16 million bpd in January and compliance with the supply deal reached 137 percent, due in part to declines in Venezuela, where economic crisis has paralyzed much of the country’s oil production capacity.
The IEA estimates demand for OPEC’s crude in 2018 will average 32.3 million bpd, after dropping to 32.0 million in the first quarter of the year.
The IEA said oil prices, which briefly touched a high of $71 a barrel in January, could be supported even if US production rises, provided global growth remains strong, or if unplanned supply outages persist.
“If so, most producers will be happy, but if not, history might be repeating itself,” the IEA said.


GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

Updated 25 min 8 sec ago
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GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

DUBAI: Dubai’s GITEX Technology week showcased the region’s ability to take the lead in innovation technology, with Saudi Arabia on its way to take the driver’s seat, according to consulting firm Accenture’s country managing director in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia will be a leader in supporting innovation and the development of new technology in the region,” Khaled Al-Dhaher told Arab News.
“I think we (Arab countries) can always complement each other in the region to make sure we have the best innovation that is relevant for us and focused on the needs of our markets,” he added.
Among the main drivers behind the Kingdom’s surge into innovation and incubation is the Center of Initiatives at Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), which is an exclusive partner at GITEX Future Stars 2018.
Misk Innovation showcased 20 Saudi-based start-ups and incubators, ranging from 3D printing technology (SHAKL) to e-commerce (Zid) to online grocery shopping (ZADFresh).
Another prominent player from the Kingdom was the Badir Program, which helps to sustain and develop pioneering environments within the Kingdom and stays in line with following the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan.
The plan, unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive blueprint for the future, laying out a strategy and clear targets to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.
“We see a big support toward start-ups in terms of seed funding, arranging funding rounds, investment funding rounds, which actually is very important to accelerate the growth of these start-ups,” Badir Program’s CEO Nawaf Al-Sahhaf told Arab News, adding: “They (start-ups) created more than 2,000 jobs in the last two years.”
The 38th annual exhibition, which kicked off on Sunday, centered around the rise of smart cities. Dubai’s government featured high-tech stands promoting the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision of a totally smart Dubai.
While Dubai is ahead of Saudi Arabia in this respect, the latter is not far behind.
“Saudi Arabia is building new cities now, and one of them is NEOM. Smart cities needs smart solutions and smart products, so Saudi Arabia is a big supporter of entrepreneurs and the private sector in order to come up with these smart solutions,” Al-Sahhaf said.
“Saudi Arabia is moving in this [Smart] direction and we are in good hands,” he added.
The Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company, Taqania, was also featured at the exhibition. Owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, Taqania is one of Saudi Arabia’s main proponents in a non-oil dependent Kingdom aligned with Vision 2030, and invests in technology that contributes to the country’s economic diversification.
The exhibition is split among several categories including Gulf Comms & Mobility, Global Solution Providers, Smart Workplace & Smart Homes, Value-Added Distributors, Printing & Automation, Consumer Tech, Enterprise Software, Network & Security, Future Tech and IOT Big Cloud Data.
GITEX Technology week runs from Oct. 14 to 18, with GITEX Future Stars taking place from Oct. 14 to 17.