Opening Remarks by OPEC Secretary General

Delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the Launch of the World Oil Outlook 2020, 8 October 2020, via videoconference.


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome participants from around the world to this launch of the 14th edition of the World Oil Outlook (WOO).


I would also like to welcome all those joining us from Austrian oil and gas company OMV and the Executive Academy of the Vienna University of Economics and Business.

We are very pleased that Dr Rainer Seele, CEO of OMV, and Professor Jonas Puck, Academic Director of the Executive Academy’s MBA in Energy Management programme, will provide remarks to help kick off this event.

Both these great Austrian institutions are very good friends and neighbours.  The OPEC Secretariat and many of our Member Countries have enjoyed a close working relationship with OMV for many years.  The Executive Academy very graciously sponsored the launch of one of our other signature publications, the 55th edition of the Annual Statistical Bulletin, on July 13th.    


Today marks the first time we are releasing our flagship annual publication by videoconference.  This is a reflection of how dramatically COVID-19 has changed our world.

The pandemic has ushered in one of the greatest economic and humanitarian challenges of modern times.

Lives have been upended.  Livelihoods disrupted.  Uncertainty abounds.

Today, more than one million lives have been lost to this silent and persistent enemy, a tragedy beyond comprehension in peacetime.

Years that test us, like this one, ultimately demonstrate our strength.  This year, 2020, has been a defining one for OPEC.

OPEC was founded 60 years ago with the specific aim of securing an efficient and economic supply of oil to consuming nations, enabling steady investments in the petroleum industry, and in turn providing essential support to the global economy.

It is a mark of our success that the principles forged by OPEC’s Founders in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 14, 1960 remain relevant – and indeed vital – in the contemporary world.

The World Oil Outlook is a manifestation of these founding principles.  Each edition provides a timely and essential reference for all energy stakeholders.  Its continuity is a symbol of stability when we need it the most.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Before we turn to some of the insights contained in this year’s World Oil Outlook, allow me to recap what has happened in the past 10 months.

2020 began on a very positive note.  We projected global economic growth of around 3% in this year compared to 2.9% for 2019.  We expected the improving economy to lift global oil demand to 101 mb/d, a rise of about 1 mb/d from 2019.

Then the world turned upside down.

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, the economic impact was already being felt and the fallout was spreading across continents and economic sectors.

Never before has there been such an abrupt and precipitous decline in oil demand side-by-side with a consequent swelling of inventory levels.

The deep recession caused 20% of world oil demand to collapse in the second quarter of 2020, intensifying the market’s volatility. The oversupply could have added a further 1.3 billion barrels to global crude oil stocks, and hence exhaust the available crude oil storage in some parts of the world.

Bold and decisive action was needed to pull the industry back from the brink.

In response, OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the Declaration of Cooperation ushered in the largest stabilization effort in oil history in April 2020.  It collectively adjusted down production over a two-year period, starting with 9.7 mb/d, more than 10% of the world’s supply.

The proactive steps taken by the Declaration of Cooperation have helped restore stability and confidence in the markets, and served to set global oil demand and supply on a path to rebalance.

These efforts were reinforced at the highest levels of government and through multilateral engagement, as illustrated by the strong support for the OPEC-led efforts at the G20 Extraordinary Energy Ministers Meeting in April 2020.  Furthermore, other major producing countries did their part by shutting-in production.

Against this backdrop of extraordinary events, this year’s World Oil Outlook provides the OPEC Secretariat’s in-depth look at the unprecedented scale and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global energy and oil markets.

For the first time, this year’s publication extends the outlook to 2045.  This provides an additional five-year window to examine developments in energy and oil demand, oil supply and refining, the global economy, policy and technology developments, demographic trends, environmental issues and sustainable development.

Furthermore, the World Oil Outlook offers an assessment of the medium- and long-term prospects, as well as analysis of various alternative scenarios and sensitivities.

I would like to stress that in this year of great uncertainty, there is no 2020 vision.  The World Oil Outlook is not a book of predictions.  Rather it provides a helpful and insightful reference tool, one that underscores OPEC’s commitment to knowledge-sharing and data transparency.

With this in mind, allow me to highlight a few key points before we turn to our more detailed programme.


Following the large drop in 2020, global primary energy demand is forecast to continue growing in long-term, increasing by a significant 25% in the period to 2045.

The key drivers of this demand are the expected doubling of GDP growth and the addition of around 1.7 billion people worldwide by 2045.  Other demographic factors are also at play, such as urbanization and middle class expansion, particularly in developing countries.

On a regional level, we continue to see an evolutionary shift in demand from developed to developing regions.

Given the pace of demand growth, it remains very clear that all forms of energy will be needed to support the post-pandemic recovery and address long-term energy needs.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the energy future. 


Renewable energy will continue to grow going forward, rising significantly faster than any other source of energy at an average of around 6.6% annually.

Natural gas will be the fastest-growing fossil fuel during the forecast period, driven in part by higher urbanization rates, industrial demand and its competiveness over coal in power generation.

OPEC and its Member Countries recognize the importance of renewables to broaden the energy mix and to address the global challenge of climate change.  Fully supportive of the Paris Agreement, our Member Countries are embarking on their own ambitious plans to diversify their energy portfolios.

Nonetheless, the petroleum sector is and will remain the sturdy foundation for meeting global energy needs, an assessment that is widely shared by other leading agencies.

In fact, we expect oil to retain the largest share of the energy mix throughout the forecast period, providing nearly 28% of the global needs in 2045, followed by gas and coal.


Assuming that COVID-19 is largely contained in the coming year, oil demand should partly recover and increase by almost 10 mb/d, rising to around 109 mb/d in 2045.

In OECD countries, oil demand is expected to plateau around 47 mb/d by the middle of this decade.  Then it starts a longer-term decline towards 35 mb/d by 2045.

In contrast to the OECD, non-OECD will drive the demand for oil.  We expect demand in this region to rise by 22.5 mb/d to around 74 mb/d by 2045, with India and China leading this growth.


By sector, petrochemicals and transportation will continue to underpin oil demand going forward, while electricity generation is the only area expected to see a decline.

Road transportation is still in the driver’s seat, accounting for 43% of total demand by 2045.  Again, non-OECD countries will fuel future needs in this sector.

Travel restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic have had a particularly dramatic impact on aviation, especially on international routes.  We expect this sector to partially recover next year and grow at a significantly higher pace in the long-term.

Another key sector, petrochemicals, is projected to be the largest single contributor to incremental oil demand over the forecast period, growing by 3.7 mb/d.


As demand for transportation grows, we anticipate a continued steady rise in the number of electric vehicles on the road.  In fact, the share of EVs could more than triple between 2030 and 2045, accounting for about 16% of the 2.6 billion vehicles expected on the road by the end of the forecast period.

Other alternative fuels will also play a larger role in road transportation.  Despite this, sheer growth in the number of vehicles on the road means that oil demand in this sector is likely to stay stable through the forecast period.

It is worth noting that this year’s World Oil Outlook examines policies and evolutions in technology that will influence the transportation sector going forward, on land, sea and in the air.

 [SLIDE 9]

Turning to oil supply, we expect non-OPEC liquids to recover from the pandemic-related shut-in in the medium term.

Looking further ahead, a few non-OPEC producers show meaningful supply growth after 2025, including Canada, Qatar, Kazakhstan and Guyana.

I would like to use this opportunity to welcome Guyana to the club of oil-producing countries.

Beyond these four countries, most other non-OPEC producers are likely to see output stagnate or decline. As result, non-OPEC supply declines from a peak of nearly 72 mb/d by the end of this decade to around 65 mb/d in 2045 – similar to levels in 2019.

OPEC liquids will increase from nearly 34 mb/d in 2019 to 44 mb/d in 2045. By the end of our outlook period, OPEC Member Countries will account for 40% of global liquids supply.  That compares to around 34% last year.

[SLIDE 10]

Now let’s turn to the downstream.

Crude distillation capacity is expected to increase by 15.6 mb/d until 2045, with a significant slowdown in the rate of required additions.  This year’s World Oil Outlook confirms the trend of refining capacity increasingly migrating to new demand centres in developing countries.

As a result, most additions will be located in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, developed regions are likely to see only minor additions as demand in these countries declines.

The pandemic has been extremely disruptive to refining. A wave of refinery closures is anticipated, even as new capacity comes online in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Traded volumes of oil are expected to grow only modestly in the long-term, in line with supply patterns. However, we foresee that the Middle East’s share of global crude and condensate trade will rise robustly in the longer term.

[SLIDE 11]

When it comes to investment, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a shrill wake-up-call for the industry.  Upstream capital expenditure could fall by more than 30% in 2020, exceeding the annual dramatic declines seen in the severe industry downturn in 2015 and 2016.

Looking ahead to 2045, our projections show that investments of more than $12 trillion will be needed in the upstream, midstream and downstream in the period to 2045.

Given today’s urgent challenges, it is important to remember that a well-funded oil sector provides many tangible benefits to global economy.  Beyond supplying an energy source that is indispensable to our way of life, the industry provides many well-paid, highly skilled and stable jobs.  It supports quality scientific, engineering and technical education.  The oil industry has been at the vanguard of innovation for more than a century, with spinoff benefits for a spectrum of other industries.

[SLIDE 12]

Furthermore, investment is vital to supporting our industry’s contributions to addressing climate change by fostering the development and deployment of ground-breaking technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, and by promoting a circular carbon economy.

Taken together, investment and technology provide powerful resources to help alleviate energy poverty, which, along with climate change, represent global priorities that are closely linked to building a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

From the perspective of OPEC and its Member Countries, the foundation for investment, growth and economic diversification can only be sustained through balance and stability in the market.  The issue of ensuring global investment in oil is a core focus of the Declaration of Cooperation.

Speaking to the General Assembly last month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities.  We can only address them together.  Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions.”

Reflecting on His Excellency’s words of wisdom, I believe that 2020 has been a watershed year for global energy cooperation – a year when universal challenges have been addressed through collaborative responses.

The actions taken by OPEC Member Countries, together with non-OPEC countries in the Declaration of Cooperation, have helped reduce volatility in the oil markets, provided stability, and laid the foundation for recovery.

We have not acted alone.  Never in OPEC’s 60-year history have we seen such a high degree of cooperation at the highest levels of government and involving energy stakeholders in producer as well as consumer countries.

It is our sincere hope that the momentum towards expanded dialogue and cooperation will not fade with the passing of time.

We must also bear in mind that these efforts require time and patience.  The recovery will always be slower than the shock.  There is no better time than now to work together, to build a more secure, sustainable and resilient energy future.

[SLIDE 13]

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

In closing, we have a very exciting programme today, starting with a brief video highlighting the main findings of the World Oil Outlook.

We will then have the opportunity to hear brief remarks from Dr Rainer Seele and Professor Jonas Puck.

Following their comments, we will listen to the insights of our leading analysts, ably guided by Dr Ayed S. Al-Qahtani, Director of OPEC’s Research Division, and Dr Abderrezak Benyoucef, Head of the Energy Studies Department.

After the interventions of our experts, we will open the floor to questions from the many participants representing the industry, financial institutions, reporting agencies and journalists who are joining us today.

[SLIDE 14]

I look forward to a robust exchange. With this I turn over the microphone to our moderator.

Speech slides

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HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo presents the WOO 2020

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo presents the WOO 2020

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General