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Asia to contribute 70% global energy demand growth

Dubai: Asia will account for more than 70 percent of the world's incremental demand growth for energy, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said. The continent, with more than half of the world's population, is the most important oil market, Naimi said at a meeting covered by Bloomberg of producers and consumers from 16 Asian nations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Consuming nations in East Asia can depend on West Asia for future security of oil supply, he said. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer among the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil.

Energy demand in Asia is rising, spurred by consumption in China and India, the world's fastest-growing major economies. Oil producing countries "are keenly aware that Asia will need more energy in the future and all are committed to the serious effort and investment necessary to increase and expand energy supplies,'' Naimi said at the 2nd Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Meeting, a one-day meeting that focuses on the global outlook for oil demand and supply as well as energy security. World oil demand will rise 1.8 percent this year, with Chinese demand growing 6.8 percent, Paris-based International Energy Agency, an adviser to 26 oil-consuming countries, said in April.

It is "vital'' that energy production capacity is expanded to meet the rising demand, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari said today.

"Energy producing and energy consuming countries in Asia need to actively implement further investment, in both the upstream and downstream sectors, and at the same time make efforts to develop a market environment that attracts the necessary investment,'' he said.

Saudi Arabia will continue to play the role of a "stabilizer'' of oil markets at times when they can turn volatile because of political events, such as those in Iran, Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz al-Saud said.

Concerns about a potential supply cut from Iran, the Middle East's second-biggest exporter, as it defies a United Nations ban on its nuclear program, has supported prices. The U.S. suspects Iran of developing nuclear technology for military purposes. Iran denies this claim.  [03/05/07]


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