DUBAI, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Unites States' plan to cut reliance on oil imports will not affect the oil production in the Gulf countries as Asia's demand for Middle East oil is rising, said a report released Monday by research firm Orient Planet.
Recent major developments in the global oil space, particularly in the Americas, "will not significantly impact the Middle East's status as an energy leader in the long run," said the report.
The Gulf region, home to about 36 percent of the world's known oil reserves, would not face a demand squeeze due to the rising energy needs from East Asia, the report added.
The United States is predicted to lead the world in oil production as early as 2017, and given the shale gas discoveries, it is expected to become a natural gas exporter by 2035.
However, Asian countries are forecast to consume up to 90 percent of the oil produced in the six member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirate and Oman.
Orient Planet noted that the percentage of the Middle East oil imported by the United States is far less than one might expect, as just around 16 percent of total U.S. oil imports come from the Middle East.
Aside from having the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, the Middle East enjoyed close proximity to -- and strong economic and cultural ties with -- oil-hungry markets, such as China and India, Orient Planet said. "China alone is projected to account for half of the global oil demand growth in the next five years."