SINGAPORE — The Asia-Pacific area will surpass Europe as the world's largest regional oil consumer in the early 1990s because of its rapid economic expansion, an oil industry official said.
Robert Reed III, chairman of Pacific Resources Inc., a Honolulu-based refinery, said use of petroleum products in transport and heating, which account for the bulk of Asia's demand, would increase considerably in the next 10 years.
Reed told delegates attending a petroleum conference that fuel oil is gradually being replaced by coal, nuclear energy and hydroelectric power but still accounts for about 30% of energy consumption in the Asia-Pacific area.
"The Pacific region contains the fastest-growing and most dynamic petroleum market in the world, dominated by multinational major oil companies and government-controlled national oil companies," he said. But Reed added that there was also room for independent refiners, which he said play an important role in balancing supply and demand.
He said oil consumption in the Asia-Pacific region is estimated to increase from 9.6 million 42-gallon barrels in 1985 to 10.5 million in 1990 and to 12 million in 1995. He did not give comparative figures for European consumption.