ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that fears of a crude supply shortage spurred by declining investment levels are overblown.
According to the Financial Times, Tillerson said during a talk at the Oil & Money conference in London that U.S. shale output can be increased quickly and cheaply enough to avoid a supply shortage.
“It’s difficult to see big supply precipice out there, it’s difficult for me to see a big price blow. There’s just too many elements in the system that are going to step in,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson added during his speech that large oil storage volumes would also guard against a potential supply shortfall, the Wall Street Journal said.
Tillerson was responding to comments made by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih at the same conference warning that further declines in upstream spending could create a crude shortage.
According to the Wall Street Journal, al-Falih said that “many analysts are warning of supply shortfalls” and added that he is “in that camp.”
Saudi Arabia has been pumping over 10 million barrels per day since oil prices began falling in late 2014.
However, the kingdom usually keeps between 1.5 million to 2 million bpd of spare capacity to help manage the market, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The International Energy Agency said earlier this month that the oil market is still “under pressure” despite an OPEC production deal.
The IEA found that weakening global economic conditions and growing OPEC production have created a “massive oil inventory overhang that is keeping the market under pressure.”
Demand growth fell from a five-year high in the third quarter of 2015 quarter to a four-year low in third quarter of 2016 due to “vanishing OECD growth and a marked deceleration in China,” the IEA said.
The agency added that sluggish demand growth and rising OPEC production suggests that the current global oil glut with remain until the first half of 2017.