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Saudi minister: Oil-price downturn coming to an end

Speaking at a conference in London, Khalid al-Falih called for new investments to avert a supply shortage in the future

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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that the oil-price downturn was coming to an end. Speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London, Falih called for new investments to avert a supply shortage in the future, a Saudi Gazette report said.

“We are now at the end of a considerable downturn,” he told an audience that included top executives from oil firms such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total SA. Falih said the oil industry was starved of financing during a downturn over the past two years in which crude prices fell to less than $28 a barrel this year from $114 a barrel in 2014.

He said the industry needed $24 trillion in new capital spending if it is to meet global energy demands over the next 25 years. The minister warned of a supply shortage in the future if these investments aren’t made because global oil demand would keep growing.

Rising consumption

“It could grow faster as the global economy improves,” he said, citing an increasing car fleet in China and rising consumption in India. Falih said he was encouraged by the signals from non-OPEC producers that they would help to stabilize the oil market.

Russia sent officials to meet OPEC members such as Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela in Istanbul earlier this month. He said many discussions are going on behind the scenes about how to implement the deal agreed in Algiers last month, striking an upbeat tone the pact will go through.

“Non-OPEC is showing willingness to join this effort. And without mentioning names, many countries have said they are willing to not only freeze, but cut at healthy levels that will match whatever is going to happen by OPEC,” he said.

Oil prices jumped on Wednesday following Al-Falih’s comments, with crude oil CLX6, +1.37% up 1.5% at $51.06 a barrel.