IEA: Modestly higher global oil demand expected in fourth quarter

Stronger-than-expected preliminary October demand data and signs of improving Chinese sentiment pushed the International Energy Agency’s December forecast of fourth-quarter global oil demand to 90.5 million b/d, 435,000 b/d more than November’s forecast, the agency said in its latest monthly Oil Market Report.

IEA continued to forecast relatively sluggish demand growth through 2013 with expected continued slow-moving economic improvement worldwide, however.

IEA said production by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members inched upward by 75,000 b/d in November to 31.2 million b/d, led by higher output from Saudi Arabia, Angola, Algeria, and Libya.

“Nigerian output remained constrained [at 1.88 million b/d] by severe flooding and sabotage,” IEA said. “Iranian production edged lower [to 2.7 million b/d] under the weight of shipping constraints and stepped-up sanctions.”

Non-OPEC production, meanwhile, bounced back by 70,000 b/d in November as North Sea and Brazilian oil fields resumed production following maintenance, the report said. “US output also rose steeply and will contribute to an aggregate non-OPEC increase of 900,000 b/d to 54.2 million b/d in 2013, the highest growth rate since 2010,” it noted.

IEA said member nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development seasonally drew down their inventories by 16.2 million bbl in October, ending 7 consecutive months of increases. Preliminary data indicate a further draw in November, it said.

“Global refinery runs have been revised lower by 140,000 b/d for the fourth quarter to average 75.3 million b/d,” the report said. “Growth is nevertheless expected at 950 million b/d year-on-year, driven by non-OECD Asia.”

Refinery margins extended earlier declines in November, led by decreases in gasoline and fuel oil crack spreads, it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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