OPEC: Weak Oil Demand in 2012

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Oil prices could draw some support from a lingering supply shortfall of more than 1 million barrels per day between the anticipated demand for OPEC crude and the amount pumped by the 12-member group, although increased output from top producer Saudi Arabia has narrowed the gap.

Global demand will average 89.5 million barrels a day in 2012, the group?s Vienna-based secretariat said yesterday in its monthly report, giving its first forecast for next year. That?s up 1.3 million barrels, or 1.5 percent, on this year?s estimate.

OPEC said the demand outlook was subject to much uncertainty and could contract further depending on factors such as the speed of Japan’s recovery from this year’s nuclear disaster and tsunami, as well as on the impact of oil prices on developed economies.

“Should higher international oil prices persist, or should further setbacks in the OECD economies occur, then it might impose a stronger reverse elasticity on oil demand, putting more weight on the downside risk,” Reuters quoted OPEC as saying in the report.

“This risk might be translated into a reduction of current growth by 200,000 bpd.”

OPEC was the first of the three most closely watched oil forecasters to update its supply and demand estimates this month. Its 2012 demand growth forecast is lower than that of the US government’s Energy Information Administration, which predicts a rise of 1.6 million bpd.

OPEC members including?Saudi Arabia,?Iran?and Venezuela will need to pump more crude to meet rising consumption. Demand for OPEC oil will climb to 30.3 million barrels a day in 2012, an increase of 300,000 barrels on this year, the report showed.

The producer group, which accounts for about 40 percent of global supply, expects crude use of 88.1 million barrels a day this year, up by 1.4 million barrels on last year.

OPEC?s output rose to 29.6 million barrels a day last month, the report said. The 11 members bound by quotas produced 26.9 million barrels, the most since 2008. In December of that year, the group announced record supply cuts amid a collapse in global demand. It capped supplies for all members except?Iraq?at 24.845 million barrels a day at that meeting.

Sources: upstreamonline, Bloomberg

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