Barkindo: Concept of what ‘peak oil’ means has shifted

13:00 | 16.09.2019

A particularly fascinating development in this current decade is that the concept of what ‘peak oil’ means has shifted, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, said at the Fifth Iraq Energy Forum in Baghdad, Iraq, Trend reports.

"At the beginning of the 2010s, reports of peak supply were almost omnipresent; however, we are about to conclude the decade when this purported ‘worry’ has shifted to concerns about ‘peak demand.’ Peak demand fears do not necessarily reflect market fundamentals or the overwhelming majority of long-term forecasts of most reporting agencies,” he said.

Barkindo noted that in the long term, as OPEC’s flagship publication the World Oil Outlook has shown, world oil demand is set to grow considerably in the future.

"Long-term oil demand is expected to rise to almost 112 mb/d by 2040. This will be primarily driven by developing countries: their expanding middle class, high population growth rates and strong economic potential. Looking at the road transportation sector and the idea that electric vehicles are about to replace conventional vehicles; it should be noted, that according to our WOO, although the rate for new sales of electric vehicles is very high, the share in total stock in 2017 was just 0.3% and 1.3% of total vehicle sales,” noted OPEC’s secretary general.

He pointed out that while the long-term share of electric vehicles in the total fleet is projected to expand and reach a level of around 13 percent by 2040, conventional vehicles will constitute the majority of growth of the total vehicle fleet. "For example, ICE vehicles are expected to maintain their dominant share of new commercial vehicle sales over the forecast period. Although their share declines from 96 percent in 2017 to 81 percent by 2040, this still constitutes an overwhelming majority.”

"Furthermore, just as technological innovation defied the ‘peak supply’ prognosis, I believe it will play a pivotal role in assuaging ‘peak demand’ concerns. Many link the fate of future of demand with concern regarding the environmental credentials of oil. Technological innovation, particularly energy efficiency improvements, fuel efficiency standards and carbon capture and storage offer promising avenues to reconciling the conflicting components of the energy trilemma,” said Barkindo.

In late 2018, OPEC and a number of countries outside this organization (OPEC+ format) decided to modernize the terms of the agreement on the reduction of oil production, in force from the beginning of 2017. The countries agreed to reduce the total production by 1.2 million barrels per day from the level of October 2018.

On July 2, 2019, a decision was made in Vienna to extend the agreement on reducing oil production by OPEC member and non-member states until the end of the first quarter of 2020.


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