CERAWeek: Asia to dominate growing energy demand

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Mar. 9 -- Energy demand is shifting from the developed world to the developing world, and Asia is expected to account for much of the growing demand during the next 20 years, speakers told CERAWeek attendees on Mar. 8.

IHS Inc. Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh said, “On the demand side, it’s China, China, China. And, it could be India eventually.”

Panelists speaking at CERAWeek, hosted by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, also see changing energy supply patterns.

James Burkhard, IHS CERA managing director for global oil, expects oil demand will be relatively flat for member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development while he foresees rising oil demand among non-OECD members.

OECD oil demand likely peaked in 2005, he said. Burkhard expects oil production capacity will become more concentrated in 15 countries, including Africa, the Middle East, Canada, and Brazil. The US is not among the 15, he said.

Natural gas supply patterns also will be different in 2030 than today, said Rafael McDonald, IHS CERA associate director for LNG.

McDonald called Qatar “the undisputed location” for short-term global LNG trade. But Australia is likely to become a more important gas supplier in the medium term, given its recent progress in coalbed methane, Australia is working to add 15 bcfd of liquefaction capacity.

Shale gas holds immense potential, McDonald noted. Shale gas reserves exist worldwide with an estimated 150-year supply of at least 5 quadrillion cubic feet, he said.

In the US, unconventional gas accounted for 14% of 1990 gas production, but unconventional gas accounted for 50% of 2009 gas production, McDonald said.

Regarding Asian energy demand growth, McDonald said the region will account for 25-30% of world gas demand by 2030, up from 12% in 2009, McDonald said.

Robert Hormats, US undersecretary of state for economics, energy, and agricultural affairs, was among speakers talking about a “global redesign,” in which countries increasingly must work together to address climate change, energy supply and demand, and debt issues.

“We have the opportunity as policy makers and as business people in this generation to take advantage of historic opportunities resulting from changes in the global economy from the new global economic geography, if you will,” Hormats said. “Or we have the opportunity…to make some historic mistakes.”

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