Asian Oil Market Outlook: Role of the Key Players


Jeffrey Brown and Kang Wu

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 70


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: October 2003
Binding: paper
Pages: 11
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The Asia Pacific region's dynamic oil market is marked by strong growth in consumption, declining regional oil production, and over capacity in its highly competitive oil-refining sector. Its "key players" are China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea--a group that includes the region's five top consumers and three of its major producers--and developments in these countries will have commercial and strategic implications for the whole region. On the consumption side, Japan's slow growth in demand has failed to dampen regional growth, which is now driven by China and India's fast growing thirst for oil. On the supply side, Indonesia's inevitable transition to a net oil importer highlights the trend toward growing dependence on Middle East oil, which already comprises 42-90 percent of imports among the key players. In response to this trend, China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing to acquire overseas oil reserves, with Japan and China already locked in a fierce competition for projected Russian supplies--a type of struggle that will likely become more commonplace.