Saudi Arabia to keep providing bulk of world oil requirements
Saudi Arabia will lead other four Mid-Eastern countries, including the UAE, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq, in providing the
bulk of the world oil requirements up to the year 2020. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast in its
annual world energy outlook for the year 2001 that world demand for oil would go up to 95.8 mm bpd in 2010 and 114.7
mm bpd in 2020.
To meet this huge increase in oil consumption, OPEC would have to step up sharply its production to 44.1 mm bpd by 2010 and 46.7 mm bpd by 2020, a doubling of the association's production over the next 20 years, IEA reported. The IEA said that the five leading OPEC member countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq would be required to hike their combined output from 19.5 bpd in 1997 (reference year) to 30.5 mm bpd in 2010 and 46.7 mm bpd in 2020.
The kingdom's crude oil production averaged 7.6 mm bpd in 2001 and exported an average of 6 mm bpd. The share of
these countries in total world oil production would therefore increase from 26 % in 1997 (reference year) to 32 % in
2010 and 41 % in 2020.
Given the political situation in these five countries, their current oil policies and the American and international sanctions to which Iran and Iraq remain subject, it seems more than improbable that the IEA's scenario for the next 20 years would materialize.
IEA said that world's dependence on imported oil in the next 20 years would be as follows: North America's dependence
on imported oil will increase from 44.6 % to 58 %, Europe's from 52.5 % to 79 %, and the Asia-Pacific regions from
88.8 % to 92.4 %.
Demand for natural gas is also projected to increase in 20 years. Mid-east gas production is expected to increase from 223 bn cm in 2000 to 524 bn cm 2020. Saudi Arabia, with an estimated gas reserve of 224,000 bn cf, the fourth largest in the world, has already embarked on massive gas development program.