2 May 2007 - 16:32
  • News Code: 103742

The world"s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia Wednesday assured East Asian consumers that they can depend on the Middle East for sustained and secure supplies of crude.

"I would like to assure you that the importing Asian nations can depend on West Asia for future security of oil supply," Saudi oil minister Ali Al Nuaimi told the opening of an energy roundtable of Asian ministers held in Riyadh.

    

"After all, the majority of world supply and reserves are concentrated in only a few countries, and most of them are represented at this roundtable," the Saudi minister said at the one-day event.

    

Energy ministers from 17 Asian nations, including the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states and major consumers like China, Japan, India, and South Korea, are taking part.

    

The meeting will focus on studying the Asian energy outlook for supply and demand, and the energy and economic interdependence between East and West Asia, including investments in the oil sector.

     

A first such roundtable meeting was held two years ago in India.

    

"Our hydrocarbon link is very strong and very important to both sides. About two-thirds of oil exports from West Asia go to East Asia, and about 70 percent of East Asian crude imports come from West Asia," Nuaimi stressed.

    

The energy superpower"s oil minister called for dialogue between producers and consumers of crude in Asia in a bid to boost cooperation.

    

"Together, we in West Asia and our partners in East Asia must strengthen the kind of dialogue we have today and enhance relations for further cooperation and interdependence," he said.

    

Japan"s minister of economy, trade, and industry resources, Akira Amari, called for energy conservation and for the expansion of energy production capacity to meet rising demand.

    

"It is vital that energy production capacity be expanded so as to respond to the expanding energy demand," said Amari, adding that both producer and consumer countries should pump in more investments.

    

He also called on oil exporters to ensure stable supplies of "oil and natural gas based on economic rationality, and for enhancement of market transparency."

    

Oil consumption in Asia has risen an average of 15 percent a year over the past five years, the Japanese minister said, adding that global energy demand is expected to grow by 50 percent, mostly in Asia, by 2030.

    

The energy demand in Asia now accounts for nearly 40 percent of world"s total demand and nearly 60 percent of the expected growth in world energy demand by 2030 is anticipated to come from Asia, Amari said.

    

"There is a limit on the supply side. As a result, the supply-demand relations of oil and natural gas will supposedly continue to be structurally tight," he said.

    

PIN/AFP

News Code 103742

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