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Threatened oil supply storm calmed by developing nation growth: study

VAST shifts in supply and demand for crude oil has left the global state of play radically changed yet much the same because economic growth worldwide has meant a bigger market in which no supplier was badly hurt.

Threatened oil supply storm calmed by developing nation growth: study
24 February 2015 - 23:17
Threatened oil supply storm calmed by developing nation growth: study

VAST shifts in supply and demand for crude oil has left the global state of play radically changed yet much the same because economic growth worldwide has meant a bigger market in which no supplier was badly hurt.

The big factor, according to Long Island, New York, shipbroker McQuilling Services, is Canadian oil sands production. Since 2005, this source subtracted 1.5 million barrels a day from US imports. That, together with an increase of four million barrels a day from US domestic shale gas production.

By 2014, US imports from Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela declined by 2.7 million barrels per day from 2005 levels. Thus Canadian and US suppliers displaced 1.5 million barrels per day of heavy grade exports from Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to the US.

"Nigerian trade to the US was almost completely decimated by US light oil production,?reported London's Tanker Operator. 

But as North American imports declined, the export tonnage was absorbed by growth in alternative markets. 

In response to falling US imports, Nigerian exports went to the Indian subcontinent and Europe, said the McQuilling study, which takes no note of the recent precipitous fall in oil prices.

India's economy is expected to grow by about 6.5 per cent year-over-year through 2019," it said. 

By 2019, India's crude demand is forecast to grow 40 per cent over 2010 levels while Indian crude production is expected to increase 12 per cent, suggesting a supply deficit that will drive greater crude imports.

Saudi Arabian exports to the US have declined 20 per cent since 2005, the result of Canadian oil sands production growth, but demand from India and China has soaked up most of the loss. 

"As Canadian oil sands production expands in coming years, Saudi Arabian heavy grade crudes will continue to exit the North American markets and into alternative growing markets, such as China and India. By 2019, we expect that an additional 500,000 barrels per day of Saudi Arabian exports to the US will be displaced by Canadian oil sands production," said the McQuilling study.

But should the decline of oil price prove long-lasting, other observers say the cost of extracting Canadian oil sands will far exceed that of supplying readily available Saudi crude.

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