IEA boosts call for OPEC oil on stronger demand forecast

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 18
-- Worldwide oil demand is revised upward for 2010 and 2011 due mostly to buoyant global economic growth but also to cold weather in the northern hemisphere, the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly Oil Market Report.

The Paris-based agency raised its assessments by 320,000 b/d from a month ago and now puts average oil demand at 87.7 million b/d in 2010, up 2.7 million b/d from a year earlier, and at 89.1 million b/d this year.

Oil demand among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries is estimated at 46.1 million b/d for 2010, up from 45.4 million b/d in 2009. IEA forecasts that OECD demand this year, however, will decline by 200,000 b/d should winter temperatures revert to their relatively warmer 10-year average.

Chinese demand reached a new record high last November at 10.2 million b/d, largely on rising gas oil use, accounting for roughly half of Asia’s increase and for almost a third of total non-OECD growth.

Total non-OECD demand, estimated at 41.6 million b/d in 2010 and up 2.1 million b/d from 2009, will reach 43.2 million b/d in 2011, IEA projects. These prognoses could change, IEA says, depending on the evolution of China’s gas oil shortages and as the effects of Iran’s subsidy removal become clearer.

Although global oil supply fell by 300,000 b/d to 88.1 million b/d in December due to some temporary outages, supply from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reached 29.58 million b/d, gaining 250,000 b/d from the previous month and continuing to climb since last spring, IEA reported.

The call for OPEC crude is revised upward for 2011 to 29.9 million b/d from last year’s 29.6 million b/d, and IEA notes that the organization’s effective spare production capacity has dipped below 5 million b/d for the first time in 2 years.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, oil markets tightened as demand outweighed supply by 700,000 b/d, IEA said. Recent price strength, notably for international benchmark crude Brent, poses an economic risk, the agency warns, if $100/bbl oil becomes entrenched this year.

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