SPOTLIGHT ON THE ENERGY SECTOR @ REVOLUTION DAYS
Key oil region in the spotlight
By Margaret McQuaile and Richard Swann
February 24, 2011 – On January 5 this year, a young Tunisian jobless graduate called Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself with gasoline and set himself alight after police took away the fruit and vegetables he was selling illegally. In doing so, he lit the flame under an unprecedented wave of political protest across North Africa and the Middle East that has brought down the governments of Tunisia and Egypt.
Since then unrest has exploded in Libya with deadly consequences for many of those involved, posing the biggest challenge so far to energy markets. Protests have also spread to Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Morocco.
Bouazizi’s death brought into focus the changing demographics of North Africa and the Middle East, where the biggest groups in most populations are young adults, many of them educated, desperate for jobs and insistent on having a say in the way they are governed.
Not all these countries are oil and gas producers, but they belong to a region that accounts for roughly 40% of world oil supply. Some are major suppliers of oil or natural gas, or both. Algeria is a major supplier of gas to Europe. Libya is a significant oil exporter and holder of Africa’s biggest reserves. Bahrain is a minor player in the oil and gas world, but its proximity to OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia– which alone currently supplies some 10% of the world’s oil needs—and the fact that it hosts the US Fifth Fleet underlines the seriousness of the political unrest in the tiny emirate.
Not surprisingly, oil prices, which were already in the low $90s/barrel at the beginning of 2011, have climbed further, with North Sea ICE Brent futures hitting $100/b on January 31 as the protests in Egypt gained momentum, spurring fears of disruption to oil shipments along the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipline. By February 23, after several days of violent clashes in Libya, Brent futures had broken above $109/b.
Population: 31.6 million
GDP per capita $2,868
Proven crude reserves: 100 million barrels
Gas reserves: 1.5 billion cubic meters
Crude production: 4,053 b/d (ie, 0.004 mil b/d)
Gas production: 60 million cubic meters/year
Population: 35.4 million
GDP per capita $4,478
Proven crude reserves: 12.2 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 4.5 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 1.26 million b/d
Gas production: 81.43 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 10.6 million
GDP per capita $4,160
Proven crude reserves: 0.6 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 2.97 billion cubic meters
Crude production: 86,000 b/d
Gas production: 65.13 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 6.41 million
GDP per capita $12,062
Proven crude reserves: 46.42 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 1.55 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 1.58 million b/d
Gas production: 15.9 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 80.5 million
GDP per capita $2,771
Proven crude reserves: 4.4 billion barrels
Crude production: 742,000 b/d
Gas production: 62.7 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 6.4 million
GDP per capita $4,434
Gas reserves: 2.97 billion cubic meters
Gas production: 250 cubic meters/year
Population: 22.2 million
GDP per capita $2,892
Proven crude reserves: 2.5 billion barrels
Crude production: 376,000 b/d
Gas production: 5.8 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 25.4 million
GDP per capita $16,641
Proven crude reserves: 264.59 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 7.9 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 8.4 million b/d
Gas production: 78.45 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 23.5 million
GDP per capita $1,231
Proven crude reserves: 2.7 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 0.49 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 298,000 b/d
Gas production: 454,700 cubic meters/year
Population: 2.97 million
GDP per capita $18,041
Proven crude reserves: 5.6 billion barrels
Crude production: 810,000 b/d
Gas production: 24.8 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 4.62 million
GDP per capita $47,407
Proven crude reserves: 97.8 billion barrels
Crude production: 2.34 million b/d
Gas production: 48.84 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 1.64 million
GDP per capita $74,423
Proven crude reserves: 25.38 billion barrels
Gas reserves: 25.4 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 820,000 b/d
Gas production: 89.3 billion cubic meters/year
GDP per capita $19,641
Proven crude r eserves:
Gas reserves: 0.09 trillion cubic meters
Crude production: 48,560 b/d
Gas production: 12.8 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 3.48 million
GDP per capita $32,530
Proven crude reserves: 101.5 billion barrels
Crude production: 2.31 million b/d
Gas production: 11.49 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 31.23 million
GDP per capita $2,626
Proven crude reserves: 115 billion barrels
Crude production: 2.66 million b/d
Gas production: 1.15 billion cubic meters/year
Population: 74.1 million
GDP per capita $4,484
Proven crude reserves: 137 billion barrels
Crude production: 3.66 million b/d
Gas production: 175.7 billion cubic meters/year
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz lies at the mouth of the Persian Gulf between Iran and Oman and is just 21 miles wide at its narrowest point. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that 15.5 million b/d of oil moved through the Strait of Hormuz in 2009, down from a peak of 17 million b/d in 2008 when flows through this narrow waterway represented 40% of global seaborne oil trade.
Back in the 1950s, close to 10% of world oil supply moved from the Middle East to Europe and the United States along the Suez Canal. Nowadays, the figure is less than 1%, thanks to the introduction of Very Large Crude Carriers which have made it economical to ship oil around Africa. But the Suez Canal is still an important chokepoint because a closure of this waterway would increase the cost of moving Middle East oil to western markets and would lengthen voyage times considerably.
The International Energy Agency, using Suez Canal Authority data, says northbound shipments of crude through the Canal averaged 317,000 b/d in 2009 while southbound shipments averaged 274,000 b/d. Fuel shipments averaged 25,000 b/d northbound and 206,000 b/d southbound, and light products 650,000 b/d northbound and 366,000 b/d southbound.
LNG traffic has been increasing along the Canal. The IEA says some 20 billion cubic meters of mostly Qatari LNG was shipped through the Canal in 2009 and that this volume probably jumped to as much as 30 or 35 billion cubic meters in 2010 as a result of the rapid expansion of Qatar’s liquefaction capacity.
The 200-mile Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, which carries crude from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, has been running at less than half its 2.4 million b/d capacity, with throughput at the end of 2010 reckoned to be around 1.1 million b/d, according to a recent International Energy Agency report. The IEA says disruption of Sumed flows would add 8-10 days to transatlantic voyages and 15 days to voyages to Europe.
Shareholders in Sumed are Egyptian state oil company EGPC with 50%, Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company with 15% each, the Kuwait Investment Authority with 14.22%, Qatar Petroleum 5% and two other Kuwaiti companies with a combined share of less than 1%.
Most oil exports from the Persian Gulf heading for the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline also pass through the Bab el-Mandab, a strait between Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea that is 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that 3.2 million b/d of oil flowed through the strait in 2009, down from 4 million b/d in 2008, toward Europe, the US and Asia. The bulk of the flows, averaging 1.8 million b/d, moved north toward the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline.
Sources: OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2009, BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2010, CIA World Factbook, International Energy Agency, US Energy Information Administration. OPEC crude production estimates are from Platts’ survey of January production. BP oil production statistics include NGLs.