‘Middle East dependent on Asian oil demand’

Dubai, April 16: The Middle East is more dependent than ever on Asia’s energy demand, but a one-way road to ever rising revenues is not always expected for the oil-rich region, market, an expert said Tuesday.

Asia’s share of Middle Eastern exports grew from 57 percent in 1999 to 78 percent in 2011, as Asian banks and traders are increasingly shifting operations from the West to their own hemisphere, said Christopher Fix, CEO of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, at the 22nd annual Middle East petroleum and gas conference, Xinhua reported.

But for the oil-rich Arab countries the rise of emerging Asian markets was not a one-way road to ever rising revenues because “Asia is diversifying its supplier base more and more, sourcing oil from Africa and Latin America as well,” Fix said, adding that the Middle East’s share in Asian imports fell from 75 percent in 1999 to 56 percent in 2011.

At the same time, global oil markets were heading for an oversupply amid the shale oil revolution in the US, the rising use of renewable energy sources globally and increased car efficiency.

As Asia is rising as a major oil consumer in the world, US oil imports from the Middle East will decline by about three percent by 2035, an International Energy Agency forecast said.

As “Asian banks increasingly move into oil trade finance, a segment which was traditionally dominated by European banks”, Asian importers are keen to expand their pricing power, Fix said.

IANS