Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

World will struggle to meet oil demand

by Carola Hoyos and Javier Blas in London

Financial Times FT.com (October 28 2008)

Output from the world's oilfields is declining faster than previously
thought, the first authoritative public study of the biggest fields shows.

Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of
output decline is 9.1 per cent, the International Energy Agency says in
its annual report, the World Energy Outlook, a draft of which has been
obtained by the Financial Times.

The findings suggest the world will struggle to produce enough oil to
make up for steep declines in existing fields, such as those in the
North Sea, Russia and Alaska, and meet long-term de­mand. The effort
will become even more acute as prices fall and investment decisions are

The IEA, the oil watchdog, forecasts that China, India and other
developing countries' demand will require investments of $360 billion
each year until 2030.

The agency says even with investment, the annual rate of output decline
is 6.4 per cent.

The decline will not necessarily be felt in the next few years because
demand is slowing down, but with the expected slowdown in investment the
eventual effect will be magnified, oil executives say.

"The future rate of decline in output from producing oilfields as they
mature is the single most important determinant of the amount of new
capacity that will need to be built globally to meet demand", the IEA says.

The watchdog warned that the world needed to make a "significant
increase in future investments just to maintain the current level of

The battle to replace mature oilfields' output could even offset the
decline in demand growth, which has given the industry - already
struggling to find enough supply to meet needs, especially from China -
a reprieve in the past few months.

The IEA predicted in its draft report, due to be published next month,
that demand would be damped, "reflecting the impact of much higher oil
prices and slightly slower economic growth".

It expects oil consumption in 2030 to reach 106.4 million barrels a day,
down from last year's forecast of 116.3 million barrels a day.

The projections could yet be revised lower because the draft report was
written a month ago, before the global financial crisis deepened after
the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

All the increase in oil demand until 2030 comes from emerging countries,
while consumption in developed countries declines.

As a result, the share of rich countries in global demand will drop from
last year's 59 per cent to less than half of the total in 2030.

This is the clearest indication yet that the focus of the industry on
the demand - not just the supply - side is moving away from the US,
Europe and Japan, towards emerging nations.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

"FT" and "Financial Times" are trademarks of the Financial Times.

(c) Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008.


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