IEA raises forecast for oil demand growth

Having bottomed‐out in the second quarter of 2014, global oil demand growth has since steadily risen, with year‐on‐year gains estimated at around 0.9 million barrels per day (mb/d) for the final quarter of last year and 1.0 mb/d for the current quarter, said the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) Oil Market Report for March. The forecast of demand growth for all of 2015 was raised by 75 kb/d to 1.0 mb/d, bringing global demand to an average 93.5 mb/d. 

Global supply rose by 1.3 mb/d year‐on‐year to an estimated 94 mb/d in February, led by a 1.4 mb/d gain in non‐OPEC output. Declines in the US rig count have yet to dent North American output growth. Final December and preliminary current-quarter data show higher‐than‐expected US crude supply, raising the 2015 North American outlook.

OPEC crude output edged down by 90 kb/d in February to 30.22 mb/d, as losses in Libya and Iraq offset higher supply from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Angola. The slightly higher demand forecast has raised the "call" on OPEC crude for the second half of 2015 to 30.3 mb/d, above the group’s official 30 mb/d target.

Global crude refinery throughputs estimates have been raised to 77.8 mb/d for the current quarter and 77.3 mb/d for the second quarter on sustained high margins and a slightly more robust oil demand outlook. Annual gains are forecast at about 1.0 mb/d for the first half of 2015, down from a sharp 2.2 mb/d in the final quarter of 2014 and in line with projected oil product demand growth.

OECD commercial stocks rose by a weaker‐than‐average 23.1 mb in January, to 2 733 mb, trimming their surplus to average levels to 60.3 mb. US crude stocks rose to a record 72 mb surplus. Preliminary data show stocks drew by a weak 8.8 mb in February as extended US crude builds offset steep weather‐related product draws.

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