News / Economy

OPEC Joins US in Predicting Stronger 2014 Oil Demand

FILE - A general view shows an oil refinery in Zawia, 55km west of Tripoli, Libya.FILE - A general view shows an oil refinery in Zawia, 55km west of Tripoli, Libya.
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FILE - A general view shows an oil refinery in Zawia, 55km west of Tripoli, Libya.
FILE - A general view shows an oil refinery in Zawia, 55km west of Tripoli, Libya.
Reuters
— World oil demand will rise slightly more than expected in 2014, OPEC said on Wednesday, becoming the second major forecaster this week to predict higher fuel use as economic growth picks up in Europe and the United States.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a monthly report, said global demand will rise by 1.09 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, up about 40,000 bpd from its previous forecast. The group, which pumps a third of the world's oil, also sees potential for further rises.

“Given the improvement in OECD oil demand, the likelihood for upward adjustments for world oil demand growth in 2014 is currently higher than existing projections,” said the report by economists at OPEC's Vienna headquarters.

OPEC's report comes a day after the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration raised its 2014 world oil demand growth forecast by a similar increment. Oil prices edged higher after it was released, with Brent crude trading near $109 a barrel.

While the bulk of the growth in global oil demand continues to come from China and the Middle East, OPEC was more upbeat about the prospects for further fuel use this year in established economies.

OPEC sees a contraction in European demand - in the doldrums for years due to recession - easing in 2014, and said  preliminary figures for December 2013 and January 2014 indicated strong demand in top consumer the United States.

“The potential of the forecast for OECD oil demand leans to the upside as the improving economic conditions in the U.S. and Europe may turn out better than expected,” OPEC said.

“For the non-OECD countries, risks are skewed to the downside due to fiscal and monetary issues.”

According to secondary sources cited by the report, OPEC raised its own output to 29.71 million bpd in January, as a partial recovery in Libyan shipments - disrupted for months by unrest - was offset by cutbacks in top exporter Saudi Arabia.

But the stronger global demand outlook is not translating yet into higher demand for OPEC oil, as rising supplies including of U.S. shale oil are eroding its market share in 2014.

OPEC raised its estimate of the amount of crude non-member countries are expected to produce this year to 54.14 million bpd, up about 50,000 bpd from the previous estimate.

As a result, OPEC expects demand for the crude pumped by its 12 members to average 29.60 million bd, virtually unchanged and suggesting inventories will build up should the group keep pumping at January's rate.

Another closely watched oil demand forecast is due on Thursday from the International Energy Agency, adviser to industrialized countries.

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