Just as the energy industry has brushed aside concerns that the world could run out of oil, industry executives now say they believe it is demand, rather than supply, that is nearing its apex.
In 1985, Ian Taylor, today the chief executive of the world’s largest oil trader Vitol, was part of a team at Royal Dutch Shell that forecast oil prices would rise five fold to $125 a barrel in 2015 as global reserves were expected to become more scarce. Now he says it is unlikely to ever reach those levels again.
Oil today stands at around $50 a barrel, having more than halved since June 2014 after global supplies dramatically rose due in large part to the U.S. shale oil boom but also due to the unlocking of huge offshore reserves in Brazil, Africa and Asia.
“We all talk about ‘peak supply’ and maybe with shale that is becoming a disabused concept. I have begun feeling that… we are coming to peak demand towards 2030,” Taylor said on Wednesday at The Economist Energy Summit in London.
“I believe we may not see $100 (a barrel) ever again,” Taylor said.
Such forecasts come at a time when oil companies have slashed billions off their budgets and scrapped more than $200 billion of oil and gas projects to cope with the sharp price drop.