OPEC Oil Demand Forecast

Jim Brown
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Comments on OPEC's 2010 World Outlook from the Oil and Gas Journal:

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecasts continued growth in global oil demand over the next 20 years, while acknowledging the potential impact of environmental policies on the energy market. "Over the period 2009-30, consumption in developing countries increases by more than 22 million b/d. Of the total global oil demand growth in the long term, 75% is in developing Asia," OPEC said in its 2010 World Oil Outlook.

OPEC noted that by 2015, demand is expected to reach 91 million b/d, a slight rise over the 90.2 million b/d predicted in last year's report due to better than expected recovery from the global economic crisis.

However, while recovery from the crisis has been faster than previously expected, OPEC's report still said pre-crisis demand levels from 2007 were unlikely to be repeated again until 2011. By 2030, OPEC predicted that demand will reach 105.5 million b/d.

Developing countries will be responsible for most of the increased demand over the medium and long term, OPEC said. "OECD oil demand falls slightly over the medium term," a point "also reflected in long-term projections," the report said. OPEC Sec.-Gen. Abdalla Salem El-Badri expressed confidence that the organization would be in a position to meet the projected growth curve, saying, "there are clearly enough resources to meet future demand." In connection with output, El Badri expressed considerable confidence, saying, "Practically, we don't see any effect on the supply side before 2014." The 12-member group claims to hold 80% of the world's crude oil reserves or about 1.06 trillion bbl.

This is total crap. The most highly respected geologists and analysts in the world pretty much all agree the world will never produce much more than 90 mbpd. This entire OPEC report is simply continuing the party line that there will be plenty of oil until it is too late to do anything about it. It has always been OPEC's plan to continue the "we have plenty of oil" story until it is too late to switch to another fuel. They know if they say we are going to run out in 2015 the world will go on a crash program to create alternative fuels and electric cars. They do not want to give the world a heads up that the end is coming. That will increase their profits significantly when the world wakes up one morning and finds out that production has peaked.

Trusting OPEC is like trusting a used car salesman. You know there is a lot he is not telling you. Only in this case the leaders of the developed nations are happy to believe everything they say because they don't want the disaster on their watch. They can always say, "OPEC said there was enough oil. It is not my fault."

OPEC already believes that biofuels will rise to 20% of the total market for transportation fuels by 2020 and electric cars could reduce total world demand by 5 mbpd by 2030. They have a serious fear that something will happen to change transportation fuel demand and they will not be able to reap the windfall profits over the coming years. They will do anything to prevent this evolutionary process including outright lies.

In other news the horizontal rigs drilling for gas and oil count hit a record high last week at 943 active rigs. That was an increase of 24 rigs over the prior week.

Transocean will testify this week on their findings regarding the Horizon rig disaster. They will testify before the Oil Spill Commission on the 8th and 9th but their final report will not be ready until early 2011. They are waiting on the government to release its findings on the autopsy of the failed blow out preventer.

Jim Brown

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