Oil CEO claims industry needs 'another Iraq' to satisfy demand

  • Crescent Petroleum boss laments lack of investment by the oil industry.
  • Majid Jafar says demand growth needs "another Iraq or North Sea every year".
  • The CEO said he remained bullish on the Middle East as a producing region.

Global demand for oil is so high at present that the world needs to find another Iraq or North Sea to make up the shortfall, Crescent Petroleum's chief executive told CNBC on Thursday.

Speaking at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, Majid Jafar, CEO of the United Arab Emirates-based oil and natural gas producer, said it was clear that too much industry cash was going out in dividends when firms need to be building more infrastructure.

"The big message here has been the industry is not investing enough. Investment is down 50 percent from where it was three or four years ago and hasn't really recovered," he added.

Projections suggest that the global demand for oil will exceed 100 million barrels per day in 2019.

"Actually, what we have seen in this meeting is we need to add another Iraq or North Sea every year and it is not clear where it is coming from," Jafar said.

The petroleum boss said the oil industry currently had an image problem where the public thought it was "dying and not important anymore."

He added that the rise of renewable energy was important, but only accounted for 3 percent of the total energy output with 60 percent still provided for by oil and gas.

Jafar said he remained bullish on the Middle East as an energy producer as it had half the world's oil and gas but only a third of the world's production.

"We are really punching above our weight and so there is still a long way to go," he said.

Oil prices fell Thursday as crude exporters in OPEC appeared to be nearing a deal to increase production.