OPEC urges producers to increase oil capacities

Retail fuel prices in India recently touched record levels due to high oil prices and a weakening rupee. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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OPEC urges producers to increase oil capacities

  • Oil prices have rallied this year on expectations that US sanctions on Iran will strain supplies by lowering shipments from OPEC’s third-largest oil producer
  • Crude oil demand is expected to increase by 14.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2017 to 111.7 million bpd in 2040

NEW DELHI: OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo on Tuesday urged oil-producing companies to increase capacities and invest more to meet future demand as spare oil capacity shrinks worldwide.
Oil prices have rallied this year on expectations that US sanctions on Iran will strain supplies by lowering shipments from OPEC’s third-largest oil producer. Brent crude breached four-year highs to reach $86.74 a barrel earlier this month, the highest since 2014.
“Countries that are holding spare capacity are now shrinking because there has been less investment in exploration,” Barkindo said on the sidelines of the IHS CERA conference. The global oil sector needs about $11 trillion in investment to meet future oil needs in the period up to 2040, Barkindo said, adding that import-dependent countries such as India were concerned about future oil supply.
Crude oil demand is expected to increase by 14.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2017 to 111.7 million bpd in 2040, OPEC said in its September report.
Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer with significant spare capacity on hand to supply the market if needed, and the Kingdom plans to invest $20 billion in the next few years to possibly expand its spare oil production capacity.
Barkindo said the oil markets were currently adequately supplied and balanced, but cautioned against a potential imbalance in 2019 owing to higher supply.
“We will continue to ensure that the balance that we have attained after four years will be sustained going forward,” he said.
Members of OPEC and non-OPEC countries participating in a supply-reduction agreement are on course to reach 100 percent compliance, Barkindo said, calling it a “work in progress.”
OPEC and allied producers — not including the US — agreed in June to return to 100 percent compliance with output cuts that began in January 2017, after months of underproduction in Venezuela and elsewhere pushed adherence above 160 percent.
India is expected to account for about 40 percent of the overall increase in global demand for the period ending 2040, Barkindo said. Demand for oil in the world’s third-largest oil importer is expected to rise by 5.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2040.
“India is projected to see the largest additional oil demand (3.7 percent per annum) and the fastest growth in the period to 2040,” said Barkindo in his speech to the conference.
Indian officials have flagged worries about the outlook for crude supply though oil producers have downplayed a potential shortfall.
India, which imports more than 80 percent of its oil needs, shipped in 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in 2017.
India has sought easier payment terms from oil suppliers to combat higher crude prices.
Retail fuel prices in India recently touched record levels due to high oil prices and a weakening rupee, leading to protests across the country.


World leaders prepare for Davos amid gloomy forecasts

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2019
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World leaders prepare for Davos amid gloomy forecasts

  • Delegates to annual forum to include presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan

DUBAI: World leaders are preparing to head to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, amid the riskiest global backdrop in years, according to a report from the event organizer itself.

As the WEF announced the names of some of the 3,000 participants set to attend the meeting and details of the four-day agenda, it also published a gloomy outlook on international politics, economics, the environment and technology. 

Rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions are the most urgent risks in 2019, with 90 percent of experts surveyed expecting further economic confrontation between major powers, according to the WEF’s annual Global Risks Report.

“The world’s ability to foster collective action in the face of urgent major crises has reached crisis levels, with worsening international relations hindering action across a growing array of serious challenges. Meanwhile, a darkening economic outlook, in part caused by geopolitical tensions, looks set to further reduce the potential for international cooperation in 2019,” it added.

Although political and economic worries were top of the immediate agenda for the 1,000 experts polled by the WEF, the environment and climate change are also a cause for concern, as are “rapidly evolving” cyber and technological threats, the WEF said.

Børge Brende, the WEF president, said: “With global trade and economic growth at risk in 2019, there is a more urgent need than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation. We simply do not have the gunpowder to deal with the kind of slowdown that current dynamics might lead us toward. What we need now is coordinated, concerted action to sustain growth and to tackle the grave threats facing our world today.”

The leaders who will begin to arrive in Switzerland in the next week include Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan; Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil; Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany; and Wang Qishan, vice president of China.

With US President Donald Trump pulling out of the meeting to deal with the partial government shutdown, the American delegation is expected to be led by Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state.

The Middle East is well represented at the meeting, with at least nine heads of state or government from the region, including Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Saudi Arabia will be represented by a team of senior policymakers and business leaders.

The risk report will give them all food for thought in the Alpine resort.

Asking whether the world is “sleepwalking into a crisis,” the report responded: “Global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking. Instead, divisions are hardening. The world’s move into a new phase of strongly state-centered politics continued throughout 2018.

“The idea of ‘taking back control’ — whether domestically from political rivals or externally from multilateral or supranational organizations — resonates across many countries and many issues.”

Macro-economic risks have moved into sharper focus, it said. 

“Financial market volatility increased and the headwinds facing the global economy intensified. The rate of global growth appears to have peaked,” the report said, pointing to a slowdown in growth forecasts for China as well as high levels of global debt — at 225 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), significantly higher than before the financial crisis 10 years ago.

Raising the prospect of a “climate catastrophe,” the report said extreme weather, which many experts attribute to rapid climate change, was a risk of great concern. “The results of climate inaction are becoming increasingly clear,’ the WEF said.

Of the 3,000 participants at Davos, which runs from Jan. 22 to 25, around 78 percent are men, with an average age of 54. 

The oldest will be the 92-year-old British broadcaster David Attenborough, the youngest 16-year-old South African wildlife photographer Skye Meaker.