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EIA Lowers 2021 Global Oil Demand Growth Estimate

Global oil demand is expected to grow by 5.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 compared to the 2020 low of 92.2 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its latest estimate, with the growth forecast now around 200,000 bpd lower compared to last month’s outlook.

In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA expects global consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels to average 97.77 million bpd this year, down from the December STEO estimate of 98 million bpd.

For 2020, global oil demand averaged 92.2 million bpd, down by 9.0 million bpd from 2019. The 2020 estimate is also lower compared to EIA’s December forecast of 92.38 million bpd.

According to EIA’s latest estimates published in the January STEO this week, global oil demand will return to the pre-pandemic level in the second half of 2022, with the average 2022 demand at 101.08 million bpd, which would be growth of 3.3 million bpd compared to this year.

While the EIA cut its global oil demand forecast for 2021, it raised by $4 per barrel its average Brent Crude forecast for this year. The EIA now expects Brent crude oil spot prices to average $53 per barrel in both 2021 and 2022 compared with an average of $42 a barrel in 2020. In the December STEO, the EIA expected Brent prices to average $49 a barrel in 2021.

WTI Crude oil prices will average about $3 a barrel less than Brent prices in 2021 and $4 per barrel less than Brent in 2022, according to the EIA.

For U.S. crude oil production, EIA expects output to have declined from the record level of 12.2 million bpd in 2019 to 11.3 million bpd in 2020. Average annual production is seen further down to 11.1 million bpd this year, before rising to 11.5 million bpd in 2022.

OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) will publish their first monthly reports for this year with their latest oil demand and production forecasts on January 14 and January 19, respectively. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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