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Mideast's 'dilemma' over oil.

The Middle East is facing a double dilemma over the global competitiveness for oil in the future, said experts at a panel discussion held by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) -- Middle East in Bahrain.

On the one hand, it has to look to increase production and reduce the amount of hydrocarbons it produces while diversifying local economies.

On the other hand, while demand is likely to rise from developing economies, traditional consumers like the US have increased their own production in recent years while reducing consumption.

"The problem for producers in the region is that because they subsidise local consumption, regional consumption is extremely high," former senior adviser to Saudi Arabia's Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources Dr Mohammed Al Saban said.

"In Saudi Arabia, in spite of being the largest exporter of oil, consumes some four million barrels a day (mbpd). This is largely down to subsidies and a lack of public transport," he added.

"The government is looking at ways of phasing out subsidies, but this is not an easy issue," he said.

"It is also looking to develop a public transportation system which will reduce local demand for oil and is also keen to develop solar energy. But in the longer term, we need to move away from a dependence on hydrocarbons and develop a knowledge-based economy," he added.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:May 20, 2013
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