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IEA trims 2012 oil demand forecast

The outlook for worldwide oil demand growth in 2012 has been cut due to fourth-quarter weakness, according to the latest monthly oil market report from the International Energy Agency.

Paris-based IEA forecasts oil demand growth of 1.1 million b/d this year, down from its previous outlook for 1.3 million b/d of growth from last year’s 89 million b/d of global oil demand.

The key contributor to the lower outlook is a 300,000 b/d reduction in estimated demand in the final quarter of 2011, which along with early indicators of January demand, prompted a cut of 500,000 b/d of demand in this year’s first quarter.

Mild winter weather, European economic malaise, and elevated oil prices combined to curtail demand in the fourth quarter of 2011, IEA said. These factors drove global oil demand down from a year earlier to 89.5 million b/d in the recent quarter from 89.8 million b/d in the final 2010 quarter.

Having led the global upside since 2010, growth in gasoil demand will once again dominate in 2012, with a projected annual expansion of 1.9%, IEA forecasts. Specifically, diesel demand will benefit from the relative strength foreseen in the industrial complex, garnering additional support from the continued dieselization of the global vehicle fleet.

The persistent volatility of global energy supplies has also tended to support diesel demand, thanks largely to the presence of diesel‐power back‐up generating capacity, the report said.

Oil demand in 2012 among countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will average 45.3 million b/d, down from last year’s 45.59 million b/d, while non-OECD demand is forecast to grow by 1.37 million b/d this year to 44.75 million b/d.

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