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IEA cuts oil demand forecast

14 November 2017

"The US will become the undisputed global oil and gas leader for decades to come", said Fatih Birol, IEA executive director.

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"Using a scenario whereby current levels of Opec [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] production are maintained, the oil market faces a hard challenge in 1Q18 with supply expected to exceed demand by 0.6m bpd followed by another, smaller, surplus of 0.2m bpd in 2Q18".

The report includes several caveats: While the USA will become a major exporter of light crude and refined products, it will remain a major importer of heavier crude oil that is used in many of its refineries.

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OECD commercial inventories in September fell by 40 million barrels to below 3 billion barrels for the first time in two years. If the standards stay at today's levels, the USA would remain a net oil importer in 2040.

"I think this group of committed and responsible producers came together. and I think they will continue to do what it takes to take us to the next level", he said at an global oil conference. Indeed, the IEA also suggests that demand for oil will remain supported by lower prices, going forward.

The IEA said planned and unplanned disruptions from OPEC may be offset elsewhere, however.

Total energy demand is expected to have grown by 30 percent by 2040 — and would be growing twice that without efforts to improve energy efficiencies.

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Myllyvirta said worldwide targets to curb global warming and reduce deaths from air pollution nevertheless require a greater commitment to renewable energy sources. Asian countries will become the biggest net importers of oil and gas, taking in 70 percent of imports by 2040 as their economies expand at a fast clip.

"Using a scenario whereby current levels of OPEC production are maintained, the oil market faces a hard challenge in 1Q18 with supply expected to exceed demand by 600,000 bpd followed by another, smaller, surplus of 200,000 bpd in 2Q18", the agency said.

After an upbeat performance last week, oil prices edged lower for a second day Tuesday. However, this is expected to cut only 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd), or about two per cent, off global oil demand by that time.

While the IEA's base-case scenario projects oil prices reaching US$83 per barrel by 2025 and as high as US$111 by 2040, a low oil-price scenario could see prices stuck in the US$50 to US$70s if electric passenger cars take off, USA tight oil production continues to rise and upstream costs decline.

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IEA cuts oil demand forecast