RPT-Russia, N.America invest billions to feed Asian oil, gas demand
* Mideast producers to free up more oil for exports
* Russia ties up long term supply contracts with China, to start gas exports
* Asia invests in U.S., Canada LNG; Canada to send more oil to Asia
By Florence Tan and Meeyoung Cho
DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Fast-growing oil and gas producers Russia and North America are spending billions of dollars on pipelines and port facilities to supply energy to Asia, intent on grabbing a bigger share of the world's fastest growing fuel market from Middle East suppliers.
China has driven global oil demand growth for a good part of the past decade, galloping ahead of the United States as the world's top net oil importer last month. The Asian superpower's surge in consumption has kept prices supported despite a rise in North American shale output and a weak economy in the West.
That pivot in growth away from the West has meant producers such as Canada have had to look further from home to find a market. At the same time, Russia, its Central Asian neighbours and other exporters are also queuing up at Beijing's door to sell their oil and gas.
"The centre of gravity shifting east is becoming a reality," Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in South Korea. Continued...