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18 February 2011, MoneyWeek

The turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East has helped drive oil prices up to more than $102 a barrel for an important benchmark crude, Brent, although so far there have been no significant disruptions in production or supply, according to experts at the International Energy Agency here. The agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said that with Brent crude over $100 a barrel, “we are entering a danger zone,” he said, with oil prices “creating inflationary pressures and risk for economic recovery.”

9 February 2011, FinanceAsia

Global warming targets are on the verge of becoming unattainable unless governments take significant and bold policy initiatives, says International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol. According to the IEA, current trends in global energy consumption are pointing towards a rise in the global temperature of about 3.5 C. "When I give these numbers I think we are only a few metres away from saying goodbye to the 2-degree target unless there are major or bold policy changes,” Birol said at an Economic Club lunch in Toronto. "We think that since there was no agreement in Copenhagen and after in Cancun that the chance of coming to a two degree trajectory is getting less and less.” Birol said government pledges to reduce carbon emissions had been too vague and were not legally binding.

8 February 2011, Toronto Star

Speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs conference yesterday in London, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol presented the outlook on the oil and gas markets. Birol didn’t pull his punches. "The age of cheap oil is over”, he said. On the supply side, companies are being forced to hunt further and wider to find new oil sources and ‘unconventional’ sources such as tar sands. And on the demand side, as China gets richer, it’s only going to need more oil, mainly for transport purposes. In Europe, 500 in 1,000 people have cars. In China, it’s just 30 per 1,000. Moreover, in the next ten years, says Birol, 90% of growth in global oil production is going to come from countries in the middle East and North African region. Iraq, in particular, is crucial to boosting supply. "Global oil markets cannot afford not to see a significant increase in Iraqi oil production in the medium term.”

3 February 2011, Russia Today

In its World Energy Outlook 2011, the IEA remarks that “[i]n all the scenarios examined ... natural gas has a higher share of the global energy mix in 2035 than it does today”. Under its “golden age” scenario, gas demand grows by 2 per cent a year between 2009 and 2035. Even under a more cautious scenario, which it calls “new policies”, demand grows at 1.7 per cent a year or by a total of 55 per cent over this period. As a result, gas substitutes for other fuels, particularly in electricity generation and heating. Gas also has substantial potential as a fuel for transportation. Read the full article on the FT site (registration required).

2 February 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek

Surging physical demand rather than increased liquidity or other considerations is the driving force behind rising oil and energy prices, the International Energy Agency’s top economist said Thursday. “Current and future fundamentals” are responsible for the rise that saw oil earlier this month near the $100 a barrel level for the first time since 2008, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. “Financial markets do play a role in order to trigger these trends,” Birol said. “But the question mark in the market’s mind is whether growth in demand will be met in a timely manner.”

2 February 2011, Reuters

China and the rest of emerging Asia need energy resources to fuel their rapid growth. Increasingly, too, they are targeting cleaner energy. According to most of the participants in a discussion at Troika Dialog’s Russia Forum, held in Moscow last week, Russia can be a major supplier of a precious commodity that will suit them well - gas. Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, pointed out that by the end of 2011, the liquid natural gas (LNG) import capacity of China and India will be the same as that of Western Europe. Yet, both nations only started importing LNG in a serious way five years ago.

27 January 2011, MarketWatch

Crude oil prices of $100 will cause little destruction to the world economy despite a boost to inflation, especially in Europe, which could drag on recovery, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters Insider. "I dont see much destruction to the world economy from the current high oil prices," Dr. Birol said in an interview in Moscow on Wednesday. "I hope the oil prices will be lower than the current three digits by the year-end," he added.

26 January 2011, Wall Street Journal

Oil transit through the Suez Canal isn’t currently at risk from anti-government protests in Egypt, said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency. There is “no real threat” to flows through the canal, Birol said today in a Bloomberg TV interview in Moscow. “We hope to see the market calm down because it is not good news for anybody in the market: consumers, producers or anybody,” Mr. Birol added.

24 January 2011, New York Times

Saudi Arabian Oil and Energy Minister Ali Naimi’s hint that it and other producers could raise output if oil demand continues to strengthen is “a very welcome move,” Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Mr. Birol said real demand, rather than speculation or loose monetary policy, has been behind the rally in oil prices over the last four months. That rally has cooled in recent days, particularly since Mr. Naimi said OPEC’s members may need “to boost their supplies to the global market to meet the rising global demand.” “The statement made by Naimi shows that, if there is a need, Saudi Arabia and other producers may show their flexibility to put more oil into the market, which I think is a very welcome move and shows how responsible Saudi Arabia can be when the situation is a risky one,” Mr. Birol said.

21 January 2011, Bloomberg

Unless the United States, Europe, China, India and the other emerging economies get on a crash course to slash greenhouse gases, world leaders can simply forget about one of their oft-talked-about goals: stabilizing the average global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius, warns Dr. Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency. "As we stand now," he said on Friday, "were only a few meters away from saying goodbye to the 2-degree target." In speeches in London and Abu Dhabi last week, and in an interview with ClimateWire, Dr. Birol said hes trying to reach the energy markets. Oil prices are heavy on the minds of the worlds largest oil consumers. "The later we move, the more difficult it will be," Birol said. "There is a lot of infrastructure being built, lots of power plants. The later we move, the more expensive it will be."