• Al Naimi:Demand to go up but oil prices will remain steady


    Al-Naimi :Although expecting demand for oil in 2011 to rise, yet also believes prices will remain at last year's rates

    Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi

    Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi said that although he expects demand for oil in 2011 torise, he also believes prices will remain at last year's rates.
    "The new global demand trend, which started 20 years ago, is expected to continue during the next 10 years, though at a higher pace," Al-Naimi told delegates at the fifth Global Competitiveness Forum on Monday.
    The global oil demand is expected to continue to rise during this year by 1.5 to 1.8 billion barrels per day, an increase of two percent compared to last year, the minister said.
    He said oil demand would reflect global economic conditions in general, varying from region to region. He predicted that oil demand is expected to continue to decline in countries with mature economies, good to excellent living conditions and dwindling populations, particularly in Western Europe and Japan, while the United States might experience a slight increase in demand as a result of its improving economy.
    Al-Naimi noted that the increase in oil demand will come mainly from three major regions — Asia (particularly China and India), Middle East and Latin America.

    "This year might mark an important turning point in this direction, as oil demand in the emerging economies and developing countries is nearing its level in the OECD industrialized countries and will surpass it by 2013."
    Twenty years ago, industrialized countries accounted for 70 percent of the global demand for oil.
    The minister said that the market this year will be in total equilibrium in terms of supply and demand with an appropriate commercial stock and a spare production capacity that can be used in any unexpected, political natural emergencies in producing or consuming regions.
    The global economy, he said, will grow by four percent this year, almost the same as the pre-crisis growth. Industrialized countries are expected to grow by 2.5 percent annually, while emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil grow at higher rates, some of them more than eight percent during this year.

    Describing the Kingdom's petroleum policy as characterized by moderation and endeavor to promote peace, justice, international cooperation, regional and international stability and human prosperity, he said: "We also have strong ties with the companies and countries that import Saudi oil and we closely track the movement of global oil demand. In the 50s and 60s, Europe was our main market, then in the 90s our export focus shifted to the United States as a result of the growth in its oil demand. Now Asia is our main market, representing the destination of approximately 60 percent of our oil exports, a percentage that is expected to rise during the coming years.”

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