Aramco Says Global Natural-Gas Crisis Is Boosting Oil Demand
(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco said the natural-gas crisis was already boosting oil demand and reiterated plans to increase its output capacity.
Crude consumption’s risen by around 500,000 barrels a day, according to Amin Nasser, chief executive officer of the world’s biggest oil company. That’s more than the size of a production increase agreed by OPEC+ for next month.
A shortage of gas has sent prices soaring in Europe and Asia to the equivalent of around $180 per barrel of oil, forcing some businesses to switch to crude products for their power.
“There is higher demand,” Nasser said during an Energy Intelligence forum. “There is some shift we have seen from gas to liquids, especially in certain markets in Asia.”
Brent crude rose 2.9% to $81.54 a barrel by 4:53 p.m. in London, its highest level in three years. Prices jumped after the OPEC+ cartel -- led by Saudi Arabia and Russia -- on Monday stuck with a plan to boost daily output by 400,000 barrels in November. Some traders were calling on the group to pump more oil than that to cool the market.
Other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries including Iraq and Nigeria have also said the gas shortages will affect oil prices. They are already up around 60% this year as major economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Nasser said Aramco would aim to complete an increase in oil-production capacity to 13 million barrels a day from 12 million by 2027. Though the company has not disclosed the cost of the project, it will likely require billions of dollars and signals Aramco’s confidence in demand remaining strong over the next decade.
“We are doing it as fast as we can,” Nasser said. “It will come in phases but the full capacity will be available in 2027.”
The company also wants to raise the activity of its petroleum-products trading arm to 8 million barrels daily from 5.5 million. That will take about five years, Nasser said.
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