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Surging economic growth in the Far East will push up world crude oil demand steadily in the 1990s despite the current economic downturn.
It will fall to members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to meet that increased demand, given the expected decline in nonOPEC production. And because OPEC members in the Persian Gulf region are best positioned to meet the increase, the balance of power in oil markets will shift even more in favor of the Middle East.
Seaborne oil exports from the Middle East will jump almost 30% by 1997 from 1991 levels. There will be a worldwide rise of 16% in the volume of seaborne crude oil trade, with a 29% hike in movements of refined products by tanker.
Those are among the findings of a report by Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd., London.
Drewry said, "It is expected that 1992 will be a low' point in non-OPEC output and that production levels will recover steadily from 1993 onward, although not rapidly enough to match the anticipated rise in demand."
Drewry estimates non-OPEC production in 1997 at 37.1 million b/d vs. 38.1 million b/d in 1991.
"Therefore, with non-OPEC production falling by 2.6% between 1991 and 1997, OPEC producers will have the scope to increase their output by almost 32% over the same period."
Here are some of Drewry's main findings:
* About 10.22 billion bbl of crude oil and 1.98 billion bbl of refined products were shipped by sea in 1991. By 1997, those volumes will rise to 11.83 billion bbl and 2.55 billion bbl, respectively, although no significant trade growth will occur before 1994.
* Most of the additional crude and products supplies are likely to come from the Middle East. Seaborne exports from the region will rise to 7.52 billion bbl in 1997 from 5.85 billion bbl in 1991.
* Total demand for oil tankers, measured at 198 million dwt in 1991, will rise 13% to 224 million dwt by 1997. Measured employment, including avoidable operating inefficiencies, will rise 13% to 260 million dwt during the same period.
* The 13% increase predicted in oil carrier demand during 1991-97 is less than the forecast growth in the volume of oil trade because geographical changes in the structure of movements are liable to reduce average haul distances.
* The most rapid rise in tanker demand is likely to occur in the …