First Published: 2010-01-28

 
Aramco chief seeks to ease oil production worries
 

Al Falih slams ‘misleading’ rhetoric world is weaning itself off fuels, but does not convince all his customers.

 

Middle East Online

By Hui Min Neo - DAVOS

We don't believe in peak oil

The head of Saudi oil giant Aramco on Thursday sought to ease international concerns over dwindling stocks of oil but did not convince all his customers.

Khalid al Falih, Aramco's chairman and chief executive, hit out at "misleading" rhetoric that the world was weaning itself off fossil fuels, saying this did not give producers confidence to keep investing in production.

"We feel that the whole issue that came to the surface and created a lot of concern about peak oil is behind us," the head of the world's biggest producer company told a World Economic Forum session on the global energy outlook.

"We don't believe in peak oil," he told reporters later.

However, petroleum bosses remained unconvinced.

"The problem of peak oil remains," said Thierry Desmarest, chairman of French giant Total. "In our opinion, it will be very difficult to raise oil production worldwide above 95 million barrels a day, which is 10 percent more than today."

The problem is not one of insufficient reserves, but that "a lot of it is difficult to be produced."

Desmarest said that world oil production could peak in "about 10 years. We are not there yet today."

Al Falih said talk of moving away from fossil fuels -- a major cause of gases that cause global warming -- did not help producers as they seek funds and political backing to keep churning out oil.

"Last year, despite the recession, we maintained our investment," the Aramco boss said.

"But we don't see the reciprocal assurance (from) policymakers in particular... in terms of giving us the long-term signals that we need to maintain that kind of investment and commitment to long-term supply," he said.

"There is too much rhetoric from the public domain about moving away from oil ... that is unachievable, and in many ways misleading to the public."

Energy security should be discussed in the framework of the "intertwined relationship between suppliers and consumers," he said, insisting that there would be long term reliance on fossil fuels.

While refusing to be drawn on giving an acceptable price range for oil, Al Falih said the world needed to "aim for a price range that will keep us investing, keep consumers able to live their lives... without too much volatility."

"The price will be determined by the market, but we need to create enough cushions in the market to ensure that the prices don't escalate like it did," he said.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev rated the current oil price as "acceptable". Oil is currently trading at about 73 dollars a barrel, half its peak before the global financial crisis hit demand.

"Today's level of oil price is I think acceptable for companies, for consumers and for the countries. This level of price allows us to invest more to find more oil and gas," he told the meeting.

"The balance ... is at right now," said Aliyev, whose country is a major Central Asian producer of oil and gas.

 

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem

EU, Jordan voice backing for Palestinian state

Clashes in West Bank over US Jerusalem move

Macron appeals for calm over US Jerusalem embassy move

World leaders to 're-legitimise' Lebanon PM at Paris talks