So obviously OPEC constitutes the largest group of producing countries producing 35 million barrels per day or so. The next largest group of producers are the countries of the Former Soviet Union. The OECD countries (including Mexico) produce around 20 million barrels. Canada is part of the OECD. Figure 2 shows its contribution to OECD exports. Canada exports to the rest of the world a whopping 1.2 million barrels per day compared to the OECD's largest exporter, Norway, which exports some 2 million barrels per day.
The dictatorships and budding democracies are facing a conundrum. Their populations demand fast economic growth and cheap oil prices. So in order to stay in power, these governments are forced to sell oil and gas to their population for virtual free. Iranian and Venezualan governments are in a similar situation, in that they have to fund subsidized, artificially low energy prices from their oil and gas export revenue. The combination of artificially low fuel prices; poor quality oil industry; declining oil reserves; a fast growing economy and a fast growing middle class that aspires western type prosperity results in an explosive demand for energy, in particular oil. Exports from those countries are diminishing rapidly. Here are some relevant graphs (Fig. 4A-E) showing the effects:
The results of these developments can be observed in figure 5. OPEC's oil consumption is on the increase. After the collapse of the Soviet Union (1989-1991), the combined FSU consumption first decreased and has now stabilized; but oil consumption will likely recover over time along with the FSU economies. OECD countries are the only group of countries where oil demand had decreased due to its population's increasing concern about the environment and sustainable economies. This trend, accelerated by the 2007-2008 Great Recession will probably continue into the future. This OECD consumption decrease will be more than offset by the growing oil needs the BRIC countries, in particular Chine and India, whose combined imports have doubled over the last 8 years. Straight line extrapolation of this trend to 2020 shows that China and India alone would import close to 20 million barrels per day. This exceeds today's consumption by the OECD. Figure 6 is a forecast of total world oil demand by the IEA.
With oil production (using today's technology and economics) stable, or possibly already on the decline and with demand on the increase, it is hard to foresee lower oil prices in the near future (is that an understatement or what?). Some pessimists foresee oil and resource wars. This is in my mind not likely, today's communication and the existing global network of politicians and business leaders would make this unlikely, other than local conflicts. Will we have oil prices of $200 or higher? Not likely either.
The economy can tolerate only a limited increase in energy prices after which we will see declines in economic growth until the energy price balance is restored. Also, at high oil prices, the world would look for substitutes such as environmentally friendly natural gas, geothermal, solar, wind and nuclear energy. We may return to the use of coal combined with CO2 reinjection into the earth. But adaptation to a new energy regime will not be achieved in a couple of months, more likely this will stretch out at least over a decade if not longer. Apart from temporary price spikes and crashes as experienced in 2007-2008, I guestimate oil prices will be ranging from $85 to $110 per barrel in the near future and this price range will likely increase over time with inflation. This combined with a stabilizing world population in the 2nd half of this century, the impact of an ever changing climate, environmental concerns, less reliance on leverage and growing demand for food will make for a very interesting future (Chinese curse). Man will have to learn to prosper in a sustainable world economy.