Africa, with its wealth of natural resources and fast-growing population, may have a significant impact on international energy markets over the next 25 years. The International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018) analyzed uncertainty associated with future energy demand growth in Africa by examining a sensitivity case in which a faster rate of economic growth in Africa—compared with the IEO2018 Reference case—results in greater energy consumption and a larger manufacturing sector through 2040.
The IEO2018 Reference case projects that real African gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at an average rate of 3.8% per year from 2015 to 2040, and the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case projects an average growth rate of 5.0% per year over the same period. In these cases, Africa’s energy consumption is projected to grow from 23 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2015 to 35 quadrillion Btu in the IEO2018 Reference case and to 44 quadrillion Btu in the Africa High Growth case. Energy consumed in the industrial sector (manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture) accounts for most of the difference between cases.
Within the industrial sector, non energy-intensive manufacturing—pharmaceuticals and electrical equipment, for example—sees the largest increase in energy consumption. Energy consumption for non energy-intensive manufacturing in 2040 is 7.9 quadrillion Btu in the IEO2018 Reference case and 10.9 quadrillion Btu in the Africa High Growth case. The energy-intensive manufacturing sector’s energy consumption increases by 1.0 quadrillion Btu, and non manufacturing energy consumption increases by 0.5 quadrillion Btu.
A higher rate of GDP growth in the Africa High Growth case leads to African manufacturing growing as a share of the economy and the services share shrinking relative to the IEO2018 Reference case. The manufacturing sector accounts for 19% of total output in the IEO2018 Reference case in 2040, with services accounting for 47%. In the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case, however, the manufacturing share of Africa’s economy in 2040 rises to 24%, and the services share drops to 37%.
Even though GDP and energy consumption both grow in Africa in the IEO2018 Reference case, energy consumption per capita declines between 2015 and 2040. Africa’s population growth rate is higher than its energy consumption growth rate, underscoring the difficulties the continent will have in meeting its energy needs. In the Africa High Growth case, however, energy consumption rises from 19 million Btu per person to 22 million Btu per person between 2015 and 2040, compared with a decline to 17 million Btu per person in the IEO2018 Reference case over that period.
Although energy consumption per capita in 2040 in the Africa High Growth case is 25% higher than it is in the IEO2018 Reference case,the African value is still lower than in many countries. African energy consumption per capita in 2040 is projected to be one-half of the level in India, one-fourth of the level in Brazil, and one-tenth of the level in Russia in the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case.
The net effect of the Africa High Growth case on the rest of the world, because of trade and global supply chains, shows limited impacts on other countries—either positive or negative—in terms of output. The biggest effect is on non energy-intensive manufacturing in Eurasian countries, where output is 3% lower in the Africa High Growth case. This slight drop occurs because Africa’s availability of low cost labor gives it a competitive advantage in manufacturing.
Principal contributors: Vipin Arora, Ilan Gmach, George Pantazopoulos
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Less than two weeks ago, the VLCC Navarin arrived at Tanjung Pengerang, at the southern end of Peninsular Malaysia. It was carrying two million barrels of crude oil, split equally between Saudi Arab Medium and Iraqi Basra Light grades.
The RAPID refinery in Johor. An equal joint partnership between Malaysia’s Petronas and Saudi Aramco whose 300 kb/d mega refinery is nearing completion. Once questioned for its economic viability, RAPID is now scheduled to start up in early 2019, entering a market that is still booming and in demand of the higher quality, Euro IV and Euro V level fuels RAPID will produce.
Beyond fuel products, RAPID will also have massive petrochemical capacity. Meant to come on online at a later date, RAPID will have a collective capacity of some 7.7 million tons per annum of differentiated and specialty chemicals, including 3 mtpa of propylene. To be completed in stages, Petronas nonetheless projects that it will add some 3.3 million tons of petrochemicals to the Asia market by the end of next year. That’s blockbuster numbers, and it will elevate Petronas’ stature in downstream, bringing more international appeal to a refining network previously focused mainly on Malaysia. For its partner Saudi Aramco, RAPID is part of a multi-pronged strategy of investing mega refineries in key parts of the world, to diversify its business and ensure demand for its crude flows as it edges towards an IPO.
RAPID won’t be alone. Vietnam’s second refinery – the 200 kb/d Nghi Son – has finally started up this year after multiple delays. And in the same timeframe as RAPID, the Zhejiang refinery by Rongsheng Petro Chemical and the Dalian refinery by Hengli Petrochemical in China are both due to start up. At 400 kb/d each, that could add 1.1 mmb/d of new refining capacity in Asia within 1H19. And there’s more coming. Hengli’s Pulau Muara Besar project in Brunei is also aiming for a 2019 start, potentially adding another 175 kb/d of capacity. And just like RAPID, each of these new or recent projects has substantial petrochemical capacity planned.
That’s okay for now, since demand remains strong. But the danger is that this could all unravel. With American sanctions on Iran due to kick in November, even existing refineries are fleeing from contributing to Tehran in favour of other crude grades. The new refineries will be entering a tight market that could become even tighter. RAPID can rely on Saudi Arabia and Nghi Son can depend on Kuwait, both the Chinese projects are having to scramble to find alternate supplies for their designed diet of heavy sour crude. This race to find supplies has already sent Brent prices to four-year highs, and most in the industry are already predicting that crude oil prices will rise to US$100/b by the year’s end. At prices like this, demand destruction begins and the current massive growth – fuelled by cheap oil prices – could come to an end. The market can rapidly change again, and by the end of this decade, Asia could be swirling with far more oil products that it can handle.
Upcoming and recent Asia refineries:
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 8 October 2018 – Brent: US$84/b; WTI: US$74/b
Headlines of the week
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production
As domestic production continues to increase, the average density of crude oil produced in the United States continues to become lighter. The average API gravity—a measure of a crude oil’s density where higher numbers mean lower density—of U.S. crude oil increased in 2017 and through the first six months of 2018. Crude oil production with an API gravity greater than 40 degrees grew by 310,000 barrels per day (b/d) to more than 4.6 million b/d in 2017. This increase represents 53% of total Lower 48 production in 2017, an increase from 50% in 2015, the earliest year for which EIA has oil production data by API gravity.
API gravity is measured as the inverse of the density of a petroleum liquid relative to water. The higher the API gravity, the lower the density of the petroleum liquid, meaning lighter oils have higher API gravities. The increase in light crude oil production is the result of the growth in crude oil production from tight formations enabled by improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Along with sulfur content, API gravity determines the type of processing needed to refine crude oil into fuel and other petroleum products, all of which factor into refineries’ profits. Overall U.S. refining capacity is geared toward a diverse range of crude oil inputs, so it can be uneconomic to run some refineries solely on light crude oil. Conversely, it is impossible to run some refineries on heavy crude oil without producing significant quantities of low-valued heavy products such as residual fuel.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production
API gravity can differ greatly by production area. For example, oil produced in Texas—the largest crude oil-producing state—has a relatively broad distribution of API gravities with most production ranging from 30 to 50 degrees API. However, crude oil with API gravity of 40 to 50 degrees accounted for the largest share of Texas production, at 55%, in 2017. This category was also the fastest growing, reaching 1.9 million b/d, driven by increasing production in the tight oil plays of the Permian and Eagle Ford.
Oil produced in North Dakota’s Bakken formation also tends to be less dense and lighter. About 90% of North Dakota’s 2017 crude oil production had an API gravity of 40 to 50 degrees. The oil coming from the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) tends to be more dense and heavier. More than 34% of the crude oil produced in the GOM in 2017 had an API gravity of lower than 30 degrees and 65% had an API gravity of 30 to 40 degrees.
In contrast to the increasing production of light crude oil in the United States, imported crude oil continues to be heavier. In 2017, 7.6 million b/d (96%) of imported crude oil had an API gravity of 40 or below, compared with 4.2 million b/d (48%) of domestic production.
EIA collects API gravity production data by state in the monthly crude oil and natural gas production report as well as crude oil quality by company level imports to better inform analysis of refinery inputs and utilization, crude oil trade, and regional crude oil pricing. API gravity is also projected to continue changing: EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018 Reference case projects that U.S. oil production from tight formations will continue to increase in the coming decades.