The Oil Supply and Demand Context for Security of Oil Supply to the EU from the GCC Countries
In examining the prospects for oil and gas supply from the GCC countries, we draw on the evidence that the supply of oil and gas from the region has been relatively reliable, notwithstanding the region’s perceived political instability. The approach taken here starts from this empirical observation; namely, that supply from the region will be available when called upon, as it has in the past. Oil and gas are of central importance to the economies of most GCC countries. Hydrocarbons provide the basis on which to gradually diversify GCC economies. Continued hydrocarbon-based economic growth provides the platform for economic diversification which can in turn underpin internal social and political cohesion and stability of these countries. Broadly speaking, Russia and the rest of the FSU will increasingly dominate the world’s oil supply outside OPEC and the Middle East, while China, India and North America will continue to determine oil demand. The political evolution of the FSU and the economic evolution, and macroeconomic policy making in particular, of the big Asian countries and the United States will be the determinants of the prospects for the call of GCC oil. Two scenarios of oil supply and demand; namely, Russia’s oil supply falters while China’s demand soars, versus Russia’s oil supply soars while China’s demand collapses, present two totally different outcomes for the economies of the GCC, and specifically affecting their ability to invest in their comparative advantages and diversify their economies. Paradoxically then, the internal prospects of the Middle East depend on external developments. Thus, this analysis looks outside for a basis to develop propositions for the inside with respect to, for example, ‘How much of the global oil and gas markets can GCC countries count on supplying?’
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