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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 32, Issue 2, January 2004, Pages 269–280
In March 2000, OPEC decided to stabilise oil prices within a range of 22–28 US-Dollar/barrel of crude oil. Such an oil-price-level is far beyond the short and long run marginal costs of oil production, beyond even that in regions with particularly high costs. Nevertheless, OPEC may achieve its goal if world demand for oil increases substantially in the future and oil resources outside the OPEC are not big enough to accordingly increase production. In this case OPEC, which controls about 78% of world oil reserves, has to supply a large share of that demand increase. If we assume OPEC will behave as a partial monopolist on the oil market, which takes into consideration the reaction of the other producers to its own sales strategy, it can reach its price target. Lower prices before 2020 are probable only if the OPEC cartel breaks up. Higher prices are possible if production outside OPEC is inelastic as assumed by some geologists, but they would probably stimulate the production of unconventional oil based on oil sand or coal. Crude oil prices above 30 US-Dollar/barrel are therefore probably not sustainable for a long period.
From January 1999 to January 2000, oil prices surged from 10 to 30 US-Dollar/barrel, because Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced its own production, and oil production in other countries did not increase enough to cover demand. In March 2000, OPEC decided to stabilise oil prices within a range of 22–28 US-Dollar/barrel of crude oil (OPEC Basket). For this purpose, a price-band-mechanism was introduced, according to which OPEC increases or decreases production if the price of OPEC-oil has been above 28 US-Dollar/barrel for 20 successive days or below 22 US-Dollar/barrel for 10 successive days. This mechanism could not prevent that oil prices increased above the upper limit from June to November 2000 and were below the lower limit from October 2001 to March 2002. Nevertheless, it obviously contributed to a price stabilisation during the year 2002. An oil-price-level of 22 to 28 US-Dollar/barrel is far beyond the short and long run marginal costs of oil production, beyond even that in regions with particularly high costs (for example offshore). Therefore, OPEC must have a strong position as partial monopolist on the oil market, to reach its price target. OPEC has a share of about 28% of world oil production. This seems to be low compared with other more or less effective resources monopolies.1 Actually, oil production capacities are higher than necessary to supply world oil demand. In such a situation OPEC has to restrain its production to stabilise oil prices on a level beyond marginal costs. This is no easy task because the interests of member countries with large resources and small populations are different from those of countries with smaller resources and larger populations.2 To solve this problem OPEC has to assure that costs and profits of its strategy are distributed in a way that benefits each member. Whether it is possible to achieve such a compromise is more a question of politics and diplomacy than of economics. Nevertheless, in the longer run, the dominance of OPEC will increase, because about 78% of known oil reserves are located in these countries (data from year 2000). If world demand for oil increases substantially in the future and oil resources outside the OPEC are not big enough to increase production accordingly, OPEC has to supply a large share of that increase. So OPEC as a whole may be able to maximise its profits by restraining production increases. A lot of studies have dealt with the oil price development which result from an oil market more or less dominated by OPEC. Already in the 1970s, Salant (1976), Pindyck (1978) and Stiglitz (1976), in the last years especially Berg et al. (1997), Gately (1995) and Gately (2001), 2001) and Gately and Huntington (2002) have discussed the influence of OPEC on oil prices. All studies mentioned differ between a partial monopolist OPEC and other oil producers, but the behaviour of these agents is modelled differently. In some studies (for example by Salant) it is assumed that the cartel accepts the production of the other producers as given (this corresponds to a Nash–Cournot approach), or it is assumed (for example by Pindyck) that the cartel takes into the consideration the reaction of the other producers to his own sales strategy (this corresponds to a Stackelberg Approach). Not only the approach applied but also the results3 gained in these studies differ substantially. In this article I assume that OPEC manages to balance the divergent interests inside the cartel and is able to anticipate the reactions of demand and oil producers outside OPEC on its production decisions. I further assume that it will try to maximise profits for the group as a whole in the long term. Based on these assumptions, a simple model was constructed, which allows to quantify the effects of different assumptions concerning economic growth, oil demand and oil supply elasticity and taxes on the possible development of oil prices. In the following section I briefly describe that model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the calculations I certainly did not take into consideration the whole range of possible values for the parameters economic growth, oil prices, income elasticity of oil demand and price elasticity of supply in the next 20 years. Actually, it looks very ambitious to achieve the economic growth assumed by EIA for the period from 2000 to 2005 because in the last 2 years, the growth of the world economy was substantially lower. Furthermore, oil prices above a certain threshold—at least 30 US-Dollar/barrel—reduce world economic growth especially in countries whose balance of trade is notoriously in deficit. If OPEC is really able to increase prices by production restraint to above such a level, it may reduce economic growth and to a certain extent oil demand also. Such a feedback is not incorporated in the model used here. The assumed price and income elasticities of oil demand for the whole period until 2020 are rough assumptions. With growing income per capita these elasticities may change over time. Furthermore, they also may change with the level of oil prices. If oil prices would remain above 30 US-Dollar/barrel for years—not only for some weeks or month—a fundamental change of energy policy would probably occur in many countries and energy saving and the use of alternatives like oil sand,23 liquids based on coal, gas or biomass would probably boom. Such a change could translate to income elasticities of oil demand which are lower and price elasticities of oil demand and production which are higher than assumed here. Even if the high oil prices crumble after some years, these changes may not be reversed, because investments made during the high price period remain in operation and changes of behaviour may prevail.24 According to Shell International (2001) revolutionary technological progress (based on fuel cells, unconventional gas, hydrogen) that will reduce oil consumption before resources become scarce is possible. If such a development is achieved in the second decade of this century, OPEC will have to adapt its strategy. Our model calculations fit more to the “Dynamics as Usual”—scenario of Shell in which oil scarcity and high oil prices trigger resource expansion and technological progress. Overall, my assumptions concerning oil demand may be a little bit conservative, the risk that demand growth remains behind expectations seems to be higher than vice versa. In the model calculations I assumed that OPEC would be able to balance the diverging interests of its member states and to act a partial monopolist. Provided that OPEC restrains its production to maximise the profits of its member countries, the price for crude oil will decisively depend on the assumptions concerning the availability of oil resources and the price elasticity of oil production outside OPEC. If the resources outside OPEC are sufficient to increase the oil production substantially, crude oil prices will probably remain most of the time in a range between 20 and 30 dollars per barrel until the year 2020. This price is substantially above the current costs and—if we assume that the technical progress compensates cost increases due to the exhaustion of resources—future marginal costs of world oil supply. Lower prices before 2020 are probable only if the OPEC cartel breaks up. Higher prices are possible if production outside OPEC is inelastic as assumed by some geologists, but they would probably stimulate the production of unconventional oil. At a price of about 25 US-Dollar/barrel it is possible today to produce synthetic oil based on oil sands and extra heavy oil profitable. At prices above 30 US-Dollar/barrel oil production based on coal may also be competitive and gas could be transported over long distances. Given that potential combined with possible energy saving overall crude prices above 30 US-Dollar/barrel are therefore probably not sustainable for a long period. References