Uncertainties remain in energy market due to COVID-19: EIA
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) remained subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because responses to COVID-19 continue to evolve.
In its April’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA said that reduced economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in energy demand and supply over the past year and will continue to affect these patterns in the future.
For the crude oil prices, Brent crude oil spot prices averaged 65 U.S. dollars per barrel in March, up 3 dollars per barrel from February and up 33 dollars per barrel from March 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Rising Brent prices in March continued to reflect expectations of rising oil demand as both COVID-19 vaccination rates and global economic activity have increased, combined with ongoing crude oil production limits from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries, said the agency.
EIA forecast that Brent prices would average 65 dollars per barrel in the second quarter of 2021, 61 dollars per barrel during the second half of 2021, and 60 dollars per barrel in 2022.
EIA expected global consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels would average 97.7 million barrels per day (b/d) for all of 2021, which is up by 5.5 million b/d from 2020. EIA forecast that consumption would increase by 3.7 million b/d in 2022 to average 101.3 million b/d.
As for the United States, EIA expected that U.S. gasoline consumption would rise in response to growing GDP and employment. In addition, as COVID-19 vaccines are more widely distributed, EIA expected that driving would increase, causing gasoline consumption to rise.