Aramco chief alerts of possible oil supply need as Chinese demand continues to stream

January 19, 2023: The chief of the world’s biggest oil corporation said he worries about global natural supplies.

Current market dynamics, such as China’s slowdown and an aviation sector still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, have kept demand relatively subdued, but that is set to transfer soon. Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser is scared that the world will need more spare capacity to arrange that shift.

“For crude oil, we are in an area where there is a spare capacity helping to mitigate interruptions,” Nasser said. “Therefore, I am not so sure about the mid-to-long term due to the spare capacity erodes, we will not have the capability to mitigate any short- or long-term interruptions like what happened with the Russia-Ukraine crisis.”

Aramco is negative regarding 10% of the world’s crude oil supply. It has a maximum capacity to bring 12 million barrels of crude for this day, Nasser said and worked on increasing that by a further million barrels per day. Still, he stated, “We should be worried regarding the mid to long-term. I think there will be an issue which meets the growing demand.”

The recent oil market report from the International Energy Agency out Wednesday forecasted global oil demand would increase by 1.9 million barrels each day in 2023 to hit a record 101.7 million barrels per day, nearly half of that arriving from China. The agency, therefore, expects the oil supply increase to slow to 1 million barrels for a day in that same period.

While Aramco works on building additional production capacity, “I don’t think it is an investment to bring additional value that will be needed to provide the market,” Nasser stated. “It will not mitigate a scenario where the demand increases and offsets the decline. You need additional investment, globally, to meet global demand.”

Investment in hydrocarbons has decreased between a focus on decarbonization and administration regulations in many countries discouraging fossil fuel exploration and drilling. Saudi Arabia and its OPEC producers’ alliance partners have called for investment in hydrocarbons and energy transition to avoid a prospective supply squeeze.

The looming supply-demand dynamic could bolster prices. On Wednesday, Maarten Wetselaar, chief executive of Spanish oil company Cepsa, predicted that the crude oil price would come back to triple-digits in the second half of 2023. Front-month Ice Brent crude fates were trading at almost $87.36 for each barrel at midday in London.

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Aramco chief alerts of possible oil supply need as Chinese demand continues to stream