Saudi Aramco plans to invest $35 billion over the next five years in projects to protect an oil production capacity cushion which the world still relies on despite a shale oil boom and weak demand, company CEO Khalid Al-Falih was quoted as saying.
"Preserving our spare oil production capacity is crucial to maintaining oil market stability because it plays a pivotal role in protecting the world's economic health," Al-Falih told a recent Oxford University seminar, in a speech posted on Aramco's website, according to Reuters.
"A paradigm shift is underway that is significantly changing the global energy picture from what was commonly perceived only a few years ago," Al-Falih told the seminar.
"We are seeing downward pressure on demand as life-style and demographic changes take hold, while environmental pressures and government policies (including potential carbon taxes) continue to work against oil in particular and fossil fuels in general."
He pointed to increased extraction of unconventional and heavy oils and new conventional oil discoveries around the world as the main drivers of abundant new supplies. "Over just the past five years, global proven oil reserves have increased by more than 200 billion barrels.," he said.