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Aramco CEO Sees Crude Demand Picking Up Quickly

Crude oil demand is expected to improve in just a few short months, Saudi Aramco CEO Amir Nasser said this week at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek, with oil demand from China, east Asia, and India creating most of the increase.

“Current demand in the market is about 94m bbl/day, our expectation by next year will be about 99m bbl/day,” Nasser said, adding that there was a good case for oil demand optimism going forward.

But not all product demand in the petroleum sector saw uniform destruction. Diesel demand, for one, has already risen above pre-pandemic levels, while aviation fuels have been one of the slowest products to recover with respect to demand, with the EIA expecting the 2022 average full-year jet fuel demand to still be 1.7% under 2019 levels.

Despite Nasser’s rosy words on the crude oil demand outlook, OPEC+--essentially led by Russia and Saudi Arabia--agreed on Thursday to keep crude oil production steady in April instead of ramping up production as most analysts suspected the group would do. Saudi Arabia was largely expected to ramp up production by as much as 1 million bpd—the amount of its voluntary production cut.

At the opening of today’s OPEC+ meeting, however, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman urged the group’s members to be cautious and vigilant “at the risk of sounding like a stuck record.”

That caution and vigilance that was decided on today send the spot price of Brent crude up 3% at a time when oil importers, such as India, were begging for OPEC to turn on the taps to ease the pain of higher oil prices.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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