Slowing of oil production leads experts to predict peak oil demands

Demand is unlikely to fall sharply once oil peaks, the OIES said. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Slowing of oil production leads experts to predict peak oil demands

LONDON: The prospect that global oil demand will gradually slow and eventually peak has created a cottage industry of executives and commentators trying to predict the point at which demand will peak. 

But in a new report from the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, seen by Arab News, the organization argues that this focus seems misplaced.  

“The date at which oil demand will stop growing is highly uncertain and small changes in assumptions can lead to vastly different estimates,” it suggested.  

More importantly, said the OIES, there is little reason to believe that once it does peak, oil demand will fall sharply. 

 

“The world is likely to demand large quantities of oil for many decades to come. Rather, the significance of peak oil is that it signals a shift in paradigm — from an age of (perceived) scarcity to an age of abundance — and with it is likely to herald a shift to a more competitive market environment.”  

This change in paradigm is expected to pose material challenges for oil-producing economies as they try both to ensure that their oil is produced and consumed, and at the same time diversify their economies.”

OIES said: “It seems likely that many low-cost producers will delay the pace at which they adopt a more competitive “higher volume, lower price” strategy until they reduce the “social costs” of oil production associated with using oil revenues to finance many other aspects of their economy, such as health-care provision or public-sector employment. 

OIES added that it was unlikely that oil prices would stabilize around a level in which many of the world’s major oil-producing economies were running large and persistent fiscal deficits.  

“As such, the average level of oil prices over the next few decades is likely to depend more on developments in the social cost of production across the major oil producing economies than on the physical cost of extraction,” said the OIES paper.

Decoder

Peak oil

This is the point, in theory, at which the maximum rate of crude extraction is reached and then goes into terminal decline.


‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

Updated 36 min 16 sec ago
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‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

  • This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei
  • Another critical partner, ARM Holdings, said it was complying with the US restrictions

BEIJING: While Huawei’s founder brushes aside a US ban against his company, the telecom giant’s employees have been less sanguine, confessing fears for their future in online chat rooms.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei declared this week the company has a hoard of microchips and the ability to make its own in order to withstand a potentially crippling US ban on using American components and software in its products.
“If you really want to know what’s going on with us, you can visit our Xinsheng Community,” Ren told Chinese media, alluding to Huawei’s internal forum partially open to viewers outside the company.
But a peek into Xinsheng shows his words have not reassured everyone within the Shenzhen-based company.
“During difficult times, what should we do as individuals?” posted an employee under the handle Xiao Feng on Thursday.
“At home reduce your debts and maintain enough cash,” Xiao Feng wrote.
“Make a plan for your financial assets and don’t be overly optimistic about your remuneration and income.”
This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.
Another critical partner, ARM Holdings — a British designer of semiconductors owned by Japanese group Softbank — said it was complying with the US restrictions.
“On its own Huawei can’t resolve this problem, we need to seek support from government policy,” one unnamed employee wrote last week, in a post that received dozens of likes and replies.
The employee outlined a plan for China to block off its smartphone market from all American components much in the same way Beijing fostered its Internet tech giants behind a “Great Firewall” that keeps out Google, Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other foreign companies.
“Our domestic market is big enough, we can use this opportunity to build up domestic suppliers and our ecosystem,” the employee wrote.
For his part, Ren advocated the opposite response in his interview with Chinese media.
“We should not promote populism; populism is detrimental to the country,” he said, noting that his family uses Apple products.
Other employees strategized ways to circumvent the US ban.
One advocated turning to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao to buy the needed components. Another dangled the prospect of setting up dozens of new companies to make purchases from US suppliers.
Many denounced the US and proposed China ban McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and all-American movies and TV shows.
“First time posting under my real name: we must do our jobs well, advance and retreat with our company,” said an employee named Xu Jin.
The tech ban caps months of US effort to isolate Huawei, whose equipment Washington fears could be used as a Trojan horse by Chinese intelligence services.
Still, last week Trump indicated he was willing to include a fix for Huawei in a trade deal that the two economic giants have struggled to seal and US officials issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban.
In Xinsheng, an employee with the handle Youxin lamented: “I want to advance and retreat alongside the company, but then my boss told me to pack up and go,” followed by two sad-face emoticons.