Report: Global oil supplies eased in February

Global oil supplies eased by 180,000 barrels per day (180 kb/d) in February, to 96.5 million barrels per day (MMb/d), on lower OPEC and non-OPEC output, according to the newly released International Energy Agency (IEA) Oil Market Report  (OMR) for March. But production stood 1.8 MMb/d above a year earlier, as a slight decline in non-OPEC was more than offset by OPEC gains. Non-OPEC production in 2016 is estimated to fall by 750 kb/d, to 57.0 MMb/d, 100 kb/d less than foreseen in last month’s report. 

OPEC crude oil production eased by 90 kb/d in February to a still-robust 32.61 MMb/d with losses from Iraq, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates partly offset by a substantial rise in flows from post-sanctions Iran. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, held supplies steady. 

Sharp decelerations in demand growth – particularly in the US and China – pulled global growth down to a one-year low of 1.2 MMb/d in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the year earlier, dramatically below the near five-year high of 2.3 MMb/d in the previous quarter. A gain of around 1.2 MMb/d is forecast for 2016. 

OECD commercial inventories gained 20.2 MMb in January while forward demand cover remained comfortable at 32.7 days. Preliminary data suggest that in February, OECD inventories drew for the first time in a year, while volumes of crude held in floating storage increased. 

Global refinery throughputs are estimated at 79.1 MMb/d in the current quarter, reflecting weak OECD refinery throughput and a shift of peak spring maintenance to this quarter. Annual growth in the fourth quarter of last year fell to below 1 MMb/d amid product stock builds and in line with a slowdown in global oil demand growth. 

The March OMR examines in-depth the proposed offer by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Qatar, and Russia to freeze production at January levels and also features a focus on the changing nature of second-quarter oil demand particularly as non-OECD consumers rise in prominence.

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