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Energy is rocketing up the global agenda, driven by political tensions, the climate change debate and persistently tight oil supplies as output struggles to pace rising demand - a situation clearly reflected by barrel prices soaring past $100 and persisting. While there are signs of appetite moderating among a growing number of OECD nations, especially in Europe and the US, oil demand is growing vigorously in others, notably China, India and, largely overlooked, the Middle East itself where economic diversification is now advancing rapidly.
Estimates suggest that the countries responsible for 37% of overall consumption of oil account for 80% of the growth in demand. In the case of the Middle East, this means that countries like Saudi Arabia no longer export almost every barrel of oil they produce-they are becoming substantial consumers as well.
China and India are quickly becoming large consumer bases that will only continue to grow, as India begins to see affordable automobiles.
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