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Oil market forecasters largely bearish on 2019

The three most closely watched oil market forecasters are all bracing for a significant upsurge in non-OPEC supply growth in 2019 but differ on the extent that global oil supply will outweigh oil demand.

The US Energy Information Administration envisages global demand growth in 2019 rising by 1.49 million b/d to 101.45 b/d, higher than its peers, but its estimate for supply growth is near 2 million b/d.

The market is expected to be in deficit by almost 500,000 b/d in 2019, according to the EIA, as output from OPEC/non-OPEC deal participants and Canada, factoring in sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian oil flows, will not be enough to offset US supply growth.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency expects oil consumption in 2019 to rise to 100.6 million b/d from 99.2 million b/d last year, growth of 1.4 million b/d.

Unlike other agencies, it sees global demand growing faster this year than in 2018 due to “lower prices and the start-up of petrochemical projects in China and the US.”

The IEA, however, said oil markets will still struggle to absorb fast-growing non-OPEC supply despite sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and falling OPEC production in 2019.

In terms of oil demand growth, OPEC was the most bearish in its monthly oil market report, predicting a rise of only 1.24 million b/d, with global consumption at 100 million b/d this year.

The continued strong growth of US shale oil will soften the blow from the recent US sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, the IEA said.

“Even so, headline benchmark crude oil prices have hardly changed on news of the sanctions,” the IEA said in its recent monthly market report. “This is because, in terms of crude oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations.”

The EIA had the highest forecast for non-OPEC supply growth in 2018, seeing a rise of 2.57 million b/d. IEA’s report suggested an increase of 1.8 million b/d, while OPEC was between the two, with a 2.17 million b/d gain.

OPEC said demand for its own crude in 2019 will fall by 1.02 million b/d on the year in contrast to falls of 400,000 b/d seen by the IEA.

The EIA is even more bearish in its ‘call’ on OPEC, anticipating it to average 30.3 million b/d, a fall of 1.13 million b/d from the previous year.

IEA/EIA/OPEC FORECAST COMPARISONS: FEBRUARY 2019 (MILLION B/D)

OPEC IEA EIA
World oil demand forecast 2019 100.00 100.60 101.45
Change from 2018 1.24 1.40 1.49
Non-OPEC supply forecast 2019 64.34 64.40 65.79
Change from 2018 2.17 1.80 2.57
OPEC NGLs forecast 2019 5.07 5.60 5.36
Change from 2018 0.09 0.10 0.05
Call on OPEC + stocks 2019 30.59 30.70 30.30
Change from 2018 -1.02 -0.40 -1.13
OPEC crude output in January 30.80 30.83 30.73
Change from Dec 0.80 0.93 0.64
2019 demand growth 1.24 1.40 1.49
2019 supply growth 1.24 1.50 1.98
2019 net demand growth 0.00 -0.10 -0.49

Sources: IEA, EIA, OPEC

Source: Platts

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