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A financial express story | May 2: Asia will account for more than 70 % of the world’s incremental demand growth for energy, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said. The continent, with more than half of the world’s population, is the most important oil market, Naimi said at a meeting of producers and consumers from 16 Asian nations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday. Consuming nations in East Asia can depend on West Asia for future security of oil supply, he said.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer among the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps about 40 % of the world’s oil.
Energy demand in Asia is rising, spurred by consumption in China and India, the world’s fastest-growing major economies.
Oil producing countries “are keenly aware that Asia will need more energy in the future and all are committed to the serious effort and investment necessary to increase and expand energy supplies,’’ Naimi said at the 2nd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting, a one-day meeting that focuses on the global outlook for oil demand and supply as well as energy security. World oil demand will rise 1.8% this year, with demand in China growing at 6.8 %, Paris-based International Energy Agency, an adviser to 26 oil-consuming countries, said in April.
It is “vital’’ that energy production capacity is expanded to meet the rising demand, Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry Akira Amari said on Wednesday. “Energy producing and energy consuming countries in Asia need to actively implement further investment, in both the upstream and downstream sectors, and at the same time make efforts to develop a market environment that attracts the necessary investment,’’ he said. Benchmark oil prices in New York have held above $60 a barrel since March 22, amid concern that supplies from Iran, the Middle East’s second-biggest exporter, may be disrupted, as the Islamic nation defies a United Nations ban on its nuclear programme. The US suspects Iran of developing nuclear technology for military purposes. Iran denies this claim. “At the IEA, we still think that present prices are too high,’’ Claude Mandil of IEA, said on Wednesday at Riyadh.