Are We Ready To Replace Oil, Or Should We Be ‘Worried’ For It?

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  • Global oil supply fundamentals remain tight: Nasser
  • Aramco spare capacity targets on schedule
  • Blames ‘shaming’ of oil and gas investments

Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, stated on October 4 that the world’s spare oil production capacity is running low and that the world should be “worried” about the effects of a recovery in demand when China ends its zero-COVID policy and aviation demand fully recovers.

Global recession 

Despite growing fears of a global recession, world oil demand could rebound sharply in China while jet fuel demand remains some 1.7 million b/d below pre-COVID levels, Nasser told the Energy Intelligence Forum in London.

“If China were to open up a little bit we will find our capacity eroded completely… when we erode that spare capacity, the world should be worried because there is no cover for any recovery or any unforeseen interruption anywhere in the world,” Nasser said.

He said Saudi Arabia’s own target to increase its production capacity remains on schedule.

Saudi Aramco, which produces and sells oil on behalf of the Saudi state, is currently working to raise its production capacity to 13 million b/d by 2027, with capacity additions coming online in increments.

The kingdom claims that it is capable of pumping 12.5 million b/d, if needed, although that is untested, and S&P Global Commodity Insights estimates that sustainable capacity is closer to 11.5 million b/d.

Market misread

On prices, Nasser reiterated his concern that the global oil market is focusing on short-term economic fears of a global recession rather than supply fundamentals.

Platts assessed the Dated Brent physical crude price at $90.09/b on Oct. 3, up 6.5% from $84.63/b on Sept. 26, when rumours of an OPEC+ cut began swirling.

“Why would you invest if you think demand will collapse?

For us, we continue to believe that demand will continue to grow to 2030,” he said, adding that alternative energy sources such as solar and wind are “not ready yet to replace oil.”

Aramco has been flagging the potential for higher oil prices due to falling oil and gas sector spending for years.

Speaking at an industry event last month, Nasser said an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine would do little to reverse rising energy costs, pointing to the “shaming” of investment in the oil and gas sector and poorly thought out energy transition policies as the root causes of the current global energy crisis being felt most acutely in Europe.

 

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Source: S&P Global

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