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Int'l energy expert: Middle East region to remain crucial for global oil supply

BRUSSELS, Nov 14 (KUNA) -- The chief economist at the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, on Friday emphasized that the Middle East will continue to be the main source of global oil supply and he forecast that oil prices will start going up again.
"Middle East is and will remain critical for the global oil markets for many years to come. We shouldn't be misled by the current short term developments in the oil markets. Middle East is very important in the richness of the sources and the low cost of the resources for oil and gas," he told an event organized by the think tank 'Friends of Europe' in Brussels to present the IAE's world energy outlook 2014.
"When we look at the oil production and supply today and lots of oil coming from North America and demand being weak I think there will still be a downward trend on the oil prices," noted the Turkish energy expert.
"However, in a few years time we will see prices again go up. The market balances will be found at a level higher than today in a couple of years," he said.
Birol said he expects healthy growth of global oil demand by 14 mbd by 2020.
He said that the oil price of USD 80 pb gives breathing space for importing countries but there will be a demand growth higher and "we will need more oil from the Mideast." He said the turmoil in Iraq, Libya, North Africa is causing serious oil security challenges.
Birol noted that shale oil deposits in the US are not as rich as gas deposits and he expects US oil production will slow down around 2020.
"We need a big growth from the Mideast. There is no other regions where you can bring the oil together by 2020," he stressed. (end) nk.ibi