OPEC Bumps Up Demand Forecast


"fuel consumption might not return to pre-crisis levels even if the economy recovers further"

OPEC raised its forecast for world oil demand growth slightly in a report released today, but said fuel consumption might not return to pre-crisis levels even if the economy recovered further.

OPEC's monthly report raised its estimate for 2010 oil demand growth to 750,000 barrels per day compared with its projection of 700,000 bpd last month. Most signs pointed towards gradual growth in fuel consumption, but there were risks to the downside.

"A potentially weak economic recovery along with higher prices are two main factors that may dampen world oil demand in the coming year," the report said.

"Even if the expected economic recovery materializes, it remains to be seen whether demand would be able to return to pre-crisis levels."

The 12-member group is the second major forecaster to lift its demand estimate this week.

Yesterday, U.S. government agency the Energy Information Administration (EIA) increased its 2010 world oil demand growth forecast to 1.26 million bpd.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) will complete this week's forecasting when it releases its report tomorrow, two days after releasing its annual World Energy Outlook.

The IEA, adviser to 28 industrialized countries, said in Tuesday's report that it expected world oil demand to rise 1% a year to 105 million bpd by 2030, from around 86 million bpd in 2007.

OPEC said demand for its own crude would be 28.51 million bpd in 2010, up 110,000 bpd from its previous estimate, based on expectations of higher world demand and steady non-OPEC supply.

Since September 2008, OPEC has been holding down its production as the recession eroded demand and pressure oil prices. The group agreed at a meeting on 9 September to keep supply curbs unchanged at 4.2 million bpd.

OPEC said in its report that its own production was rising, indicating that a recent climb in oil prices had encouraged members to loosen compliance.

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