Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

Sheila McNulty

Sara Akbar, chief executive of Kuwait Energy, an independent oil and gas company focused on the region, brought to the IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ annual energy conference in Houston what she called a “view from the street” on the North Africa/Middle East tensions.
Akbar said that although the region was made up of disparate countries, they had enough similarities that one spark had set off change throughout. Even in Kuwait – which she noted had a very stable political system – there were calls for change.

With Brent oil around 115$ per barrel and expected to rise further in the light of the unrest in the Middle East, it is worth considering who will be squeezed hardest among the countries of the emerging world.

China and India are the two largest net oil importers in emerging markets. But both are big consumers of coal and rely less on oil than some of their rivals. Chile and Thailand depend far more on imported oil. As the chart below the fold shows, the level of oil dependency is relates to the energy mix which varies a lot between countries. As in so many sectors, policy matters.

oil dependency chart

The chart illustrates energy supply by fuel for key countries and regions. Latin America is relies more on oil than any region after the Middle East. About half of its total energy consumption comes from oil and the remaining half is largely composed of gas.

Could Saudi Arabia be telling porkies when it comes to its spare capacity capabilities?

It’s something Goldman Sachs analysts are wondering on Tuesday.

For example, they’ve deduced — from reverse-engineering the kingdom’s production levels — that Saudi may have raised output before the crisis in Libya ever broke out.

Influential members of Opec, the oil cartel, are joining Saudi Arabia in raising output to cool soaring prices and allay fears of a supply crunch in the west.

The behind-the-scenes move by Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria reflects growing unease among Opec members over the threat to the global economic recovery from crude’s runaway rise amid the worsening crisis in Libya.

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