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PARIS: Despite mounting efforts to limit climate change, the OPEC oil cartel said Monday it expects demand for crude to continue to grow for the next two decades.

In its 2023 annual report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecasts demand for crude to reach 116 million barrels per day (mbd) by 2045 under its main scenario, a 16.5 percent increase from the 99.4 mbd in 2022.

That is an increase of 6 mbd from its estimate last year.

Oil demand has “the potential to be even higher”, said OPEC chief Haitham Al Ghais.

“What is clear is that the world will continue to need more energy in the decades to come,” he emphasised in the forward to the report – which comes just eight weeks before the next UN climate conference, COP28, in Dubai.

At the conference dozens of countries will try to impose the adoption of the objective of an end to the use of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal.

OPEC leaders make case for fossil fuels at Riyadh climate event

According to OPEC, whose 13 member states include Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Venezuela, oil demand will be driven by emerging and developing nations, with India in pole position.

Meanwhile, it sees oil demand in the OECD club of advanced economies declining from 2025.

In order to meet this demand OPEC says additional investment in fossil fuel production will be needed, putting the figure at $14 trillion by 2045, or roughly $610 billion per year.

“It is vital that these are made; it is beneficial for both producers and consumers,” said Al Ghais, a Kuwaiti oil executive.

“Calls to stop investments in new oil projects are misguided and could lead to energy and economic chaos,” he warned, in criticism aimed at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In 2021, the IEA surprised the world and shocked oil exporting nations by calling for a halt in new investment in fossil fuel production to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.

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