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Abstract

It is popularly believed that importers of oil diversify their suppliers to achieve security of supply and that exporters diversify their customer base to achieve security of demand. However, this diversification comes at a cost, compared with buying from or selling to the most economically attractive counterparties— analogous to paying an insurance premium. In fact, our research suggests that this illustration may not properly describe the outcomes for large individual producers or consumers (or coalitions of these) and that diversification can also be a strategy for revenue maximization or cost minimization. We have developed KAPSARC’s Global Oil Trade Model (GOTM), which is calibrated to the configuration of the global oil markets in 2012, to demonstrate our framework. Our model shows that, in 2012, the volumes of supply and demand and the trade flows constrain the valid candidates to combine diversification with economic gain. Only the trading pair of the Arabian Gulf exporters and North East Asian importers can benefit. This is the illustration that we develop in this paper. However, a future reconfiguration of crude flows—perhaps with growth in North American exports to the Pacific or a major pivot by Russia to sell material volumes to China and other North East Asian customers—could introduce new players. KAPSARC’s framework may prove valuable to understanding potential future dislocations in crude oil trade flows.

Authors

Shahad Alarenan

Shahad Alarenan

Senior Research Analyst Shahad is a senior research analyst in the Energy Systems and Macroeconomics team, with a research focus on econometric energy… Shahad is a senior research analyst in the Energy Systems and Macroeconomics team, with a research focus on econometric energy modeling.

Frederic Murphy

Frederic Murphy

Visiting Researcher Frederic is professor emeritus, Fox School of Business, Temple University, where he taught for 30 years. He was a visiting… Frederic is professor emeritus, Fox School of Business, Temple University, where he taught for 30 years. He was a visiting researcher fellow at KAPSARC where he is participating in the development of energy models and writing policy analyses in a range of areas, including domestic energy use in Saudi Arabia, market power in world oil markets, designing and managing income stabilization funds, and China's and India's energy economies. He works mainly in the area of energy-market forecasting and energy policy analysis. Prior to joining Temple, he was at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and its predecessor, the Federal Energy Administration, where he headed the group that did the economic impact analyses of the bills and laws passed during the Carter administration and developed and ran the forecasting models then used for policy analyses and the forecasts in the EIA Annual Report. He has authored over 100 refereed articles. In one study he was ranked in the 20 most published researchers in his field over a fifty-year span. He was the editor in chief of the journal Interfaces, an area editor for Operations Research, and the Informs Journal on computing, and the Vice President of Publications for INFORMS and its predecessor society, Operations Research Society of America. He has been involved in studying local economic policy issues, including advising the Tax Reform Commission of the City of Philadelphia, estimating the impact on jobs of building casinos in Philadelphia, and political redistricting. He also did a queueing study oil tank vessels on the Delaware River.

Ziyad Alfawzan

Ziyad Alfawzan

Senior Research Analyst Ziyad is a Senior Research Analyst at KAPSARC focusing on energy demand modeling. He has also worked on developing a… Ziyad is a Senior Research Analyst at KAPSARC focusing on energy demand modeling. He has also worked on developing a macroeconometric model of Saudi Arabia. He is currently on sabbatical to undertake an M.Sc. in operations research.

Nader AlKathiri

Research Fellow Nader is a research fellow at KAPSARC. His research interests include development economics, economic modeling, and natural resource economics. He leads… Nader is a research fellow at KAPSARC. His research interests include development economics, economic modeling, and natural resource economics. He leads a project exploring the role of sovereign wealth funds in promoting economic diversification in oil-dependent economies. Nader holds a B.Sc. in operations research, an M.Sc. in applied mathematics and computational science, and an MBA in finance.

Expertise

  • Sovereign wealth funds; natural resource economics; economic modeling

Publications See all Nader AlKathiri’s publications

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