The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Thursday that crude oil prices are expected to rebalance by the end of this year or 2017, thanks to growing global demand.
"This year, we are expecting the biggest decline of non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil supply in the last 25 years, almost 700,000 barrels per day," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told reporters in Tokyo after attending an economic meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"At the same time, global oil demand grows in a healthy pace, led by India, China and other emerging countries. At the turn of this year or by the end of 2017 at the latest, we expect oil markets to rebalance and the prices to rebalance," said Birol. "When we look at all the fundamentals -- demand, supply and stocks, I have all the reasons to believe that in the absence of a major economic downturn, we are going to see balance in the markets (at the) latest by 2017," he noted.
According to the official, the world's dependence on Middle Eastern oil is expected to significantly accelerate in the next several years.
As for the resumption of Iranian oil exports, Birol said the volume could increase by 500,000 barrels per day this year after the lifting of Western sanctions on the country backed by growing global demand. "Oil investment has declined by about 40 percent in the past two years due to low oil prices, with rapid drop in North America, Latin America and Russia," he added.