Global oil markets are facing an uncertain year with slowing global growth driving less global demand for oil while the supply picture looks unclear with production cuts by OPEC and Russia potentially counteracted by the growth in U.S. shale oil output.
But it's not supply, demand, sanctions on Iran's oil industry or political upheaval in oil producer Venezuela that the chief executive of Total is worried about.
"The main risk for the oil market is the situation in the Middle East because this is the big area of production, not only in Saudi Arabia but in the UAE and Kuwait. There's Iraq and Iran and this region is connected," Total's Patrick Pouyanné told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday.
"And it's clear that the events of the last quarter of the year around Saudi Arabia and Iran which are the two big blocs there, have worried a lot of people so there is purely a premium risk. Having said that, we shouldn't overestimate it, there is also the supply and demand (factor)," he said. "Yes, demand is strong but supply is also going very strong with U.S. shale."