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Demand For OPEC Oil Falls To 30-Year Low

The sharp contraction in global oil demand amid lockdowns and stalled industrial activity will lead to the lowest demand for OPEC crude in more than thirty years this quarter.  

Global oil demand in Q2 is set to be at around 86 million bpd, down by 12 million bpd year on year, OPEC said in its closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report on Thursday. In the second quarter, the call on OPEC crude will be 19.73 million bpd, down by 9.6 million bpd from the demand for OPEC’s oil in Q2 2019.

The fewer-than-20-million-bpd demand for OPEC crude in Q2 2020 would be the lowest since 1989, the last time OPEC pumped so little crude oil, according to Bloomberg estimates.

Even with the historic OPEC+ agreement to remove 9.7 million bpd from the market in May and June, OPEC alone is faced with a gaping hole between crashing demand for its oil (and for any other oil, for that matter) and still persistent oversupply, even if all OPEC members were to comply fully with their cuts—something never seen in the industry before.

In the unlikely event of all OPEC members fully complying with the cuts, demand for OPEC crude in Q2 at just below 20 million bpd would still be much lower than OPEC’s potential all-members-complying-100-percent production of 23.4 million bpd, according to Bloomberg estimates.  

For the full-year 2020, OPEC expects demand for its crude at 24.5 million bpd, down by 5.4 million bpd compared to 2019. When compared with the same quarters in 2019, demand for OPEC crude in Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 is expected to be 8.2 million bpd and 9.6 million bpd lower, respectively, the cartel said in its monthly report. Those projections, however, remain “heavily subject to uncertainty surrounding current market conditions,” OPEC said.  

As far as the entire global oil demand is concerned, OPEC expects it to drop by 6.8 million bpd this year, as “The oil market is currently undergoing historic shock that is abrupt, extreme and at global scale.”                                           

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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