Global Oil Demand Expected to Grow in 2015, Says Shell CEO

LONDON— Royal Dutch Shell PLC Chief Executive Ben van Beurden sees oil demand outpacing supply growth this year, and is warning that supply may decline if oil prices stay low.

In excerpted, prepared remarks released by Shell on Thursday, Mr. van Beurden said expectations for higher economic growth this year should translate into higher demand for oil.

“But seeing today’s prices, supply will probably not keep pace with this growth,” according to his prepared remarks, which he is expected to deliver later Thursday. “It may even decline.”

Mr. van Beurden said a rapid recovery in oil prices could “occur if projects are postponed or even canceled. This would lead to less new supply—not so much now, but in two or three years. Combined with economic growth, the market could tighten quickly in this scenario.”

He said, though, that if U.S. output proves resilient in the face of today’s lower prices, “with moderate economic growth, prices could stay low for longer.”