The Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Dr. Abdalla S. El-Badri who spoke at the 5th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Seoul, South Korea a few days ago stated that: “There have been many predictions about Asia in the 21st century – that it will increasingly become the world’s economic centre; and that developments in the region will have profound implications for people, businesses and nations everywhere.’’
He said that: “In fact, all of this is already happening. The world’s economic and energy landscape is changing – and Asia is at the very heart of this.’’
El-Badri remarked that: “We can see this when we look at demographic trends, economic growth rates, and energy demand and supply since the start of this century, as well as projections for the future.
He said in terms of population, the Asian region accounted for around 50 per cent of the world’s increase from 2000 to 2012 and is expected to account for close to 40 per cent of the growth from now until 2035 because of its young, dynamic and expanding population.
He stated that the region has outpaced others in the period since 2000. While the OECD has seen an average growth rate of 1.8 per cent between 2000 and 2012, Asia and Oceania – excluding China – has seen 5.5 per cent growth.
The Secretary General who noted that China alone over this period is at 9.8 per cent while India is at 7.6 per cent remarked that the region has been the most dynamic in terms of trade, with exports and imports both witnessing significant growth.
He stated that this trend will continue. Within a few years, Asia will not only be the world’s largest producer of goods and services, but the largest consumer of them as well.
El-Badri stated that: “When we look at oil and energy demand, the numbers reflect a similar message. Of all world regions, Asia has seen the greatest energy demand increase since 2000.
He stated that: “In terms of oil, demand in the Americas and Europe since 2000 has fallen by 2.3 per cent and 12.4 per cent, respectively, whereas Asian oil demand has increased by 41.5 per cent. This equates to an addition of over 8 million barrels a day, with Asian oil demand currently standing at more than 29 million barrels a day.
He maintained that the global energy demand is expected to expand more than 50 per cent by 2035, with Asia again seeing the largest increase.
He said that oil demand is expected to increase from just below 90 million barrels a day in 2013 to around 109 million barrels a day by 2035, with around 88 per cent of this increase in Asia.
The secretary remarked that on the flip side, however, Asian oil supply has only witnessed growth of 1 million barrels a day since 2000, to stand at close to 8 million barrels a day.
He stated that: “It means that oil demand in the region today exceeds local supply by over 20 million barrels a day. And this number is expected to grow due to further domestic consumption growth.
The Secretary General stated that Asia will continue to be at the centre of medium- and long-term changes that are shifting the economic balance of power and altering the global energy map.
He maintained that: “There have been suggestions that Asia’s per capita income could rise six-fold in purchasing power parity terms to reach European levels by 2050. This would nearly double Asia’s share of global GDP to over 50 per cent. In addition there is huge potential to ease the plight of many of those billions in Asia who continue to suffer from energy poverty.
El-Badri remarked that: “Looking outwards, Asia’s continued growth will have further implications for global trade, interdependence and cooperation, as well as a greater role for the region in global affairs. This growing power and influence also means the region will increasingly be looked upon to take a lead, in areas such as education, technology and research, and build closer ties, particularly with other emerging economies in Africa and Latin America.”
Information from National Mirror was used in this report.