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Gulf energy demand surge to sap oil exports-report

Energy demand in the Arabian Peninsula is projected to increase by 85 percent by 2030.

July 20, 2010 3:23 by

An energy demand surge in the Gulf will be largely met by oil-fired generation, removing an estimated 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day otherwise available for export, Wood Mackenzie said in a report.

Energy demand in the Arabian Peninsula has more than doubled in the past 10 years and is forecast to increase by 85 percent by 2030, compared with 2008 levels, Wood Mackenzie’s Energy Markets Service Insight division said in a report released to the press on Monday.

Demand for oil will increase by about 114 percent during that time, largely because of the commissioning of 39 GW of new oil-fired generation in the region.

By around 2030, however, fuel diversification though nuclear energy and coal could help to free up 1.5 mmboepd of oil for world markets.

In the shorter term, oil-producing Gulf nations are being forced to burn oil for power because they do not have enough gas to cope with rising regional demand.

“Sustained rapid energy demand growth could mean that oil exports will become a casualty of the Arabian gas supply crunch,” the report said.

Ironically, the huge increase in consumption stems from plans by the countries of the Arabian Peninsula — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman — to curb their over-dependence on oil revenues by investing in refining, petrochemicals and aluminium mining and smelting.

“The downside of this diversification is that these new industries are energy intensive,” the report said.

Qatar holds the world’s third-largest gas reserves behind Russia and Iran, but its production is constrained by the moratorium on new gas developments in the giant North Field until 2014.

The amount of gas available for the Gulf is also limited by the region’s gas export commitments to Asia and Europe.

Overall gas production growth in Qatar is expected to average 15 percent a year to 2014, before slowing to 1 percent per year to 2030, assuming the moratorium is lifted after 2014, the report said.

The development of shale gas in the U.S. will release liquefied natural gas (LNG) previously destined for other markets, with the Arabian Peninsula a prime candidate for that gas, the report said.

(Reporting by Regan E. Doherty; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Sue Thomas)

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