OIL DEMAND GROWTH
Having bottomed‐out in the second quarter of 2014, global oil demand growth has since steadily risen, with year‐on‐year gains estimated at around 0.9 million barrels per day (mb/d) for the final quarter of last year and 1.0 mb/d for the current quarter, the IEA Oil Market Report for March informed subscribers. The forecast of demand growth for all of 2015 was raised by 75 kb/d to 1.0 mb/d, bringing global demand to an average 93.5 mb/d.
Global supply rose by 1.3 mb/d year‐on‐year to an estimated 94 mb/d in February, led by a 1.4 mb/d gain in non‐OPEC output. Declines in the US rig count have yet to dent North American output growth. Final December and preliminary current-quarter data show higher‐than‐expected US crude supply, raising the 2015 North American outlook.
OPEC crude output edged down by 90 kb/d in February to 30.22 mb/d, as losses in Libya and Iraq offset higher supply from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Angola. The slightly higher demand forecast has raised the "call" on OPEC crude for the second half of 2015 to 30.3 mb/d, above the group's official 30 mb/d target.
Global crude refinery throughputs estimates have been raised to 77.8 mb/d for the current quarter and 77.3 mb/d for the second quarter on sustained high margins and a slightly more robust oil demand outlook. Annual gains are forecast at about 1.0 mb/d for the first half of 2015, down from a sharp 2.2 mb/d in the final quarter of 2014 and in line with projected oil product demand growth.
OECD commercial stocks rose by a weaker‐than‐average 23.1 mb in January, to 2 733 mb, trimming their surplus to average levels to 60.3 mb. US crude stocks rose to a record 72 mb surplus. Preliminary data show stocks drew by a weak 8.8 mb in February as extended US crude builds offset steep weather‐related product draws.
The March OMR also features a focus on how bulging US stockpiles are blowing out the WTI-Brent spread as well as an evaluation of the spreading but so-far limited impact of labor unrest at US refineries. A third article available to OMR subscribers details where and how cheaper oil is facilitating the building of strategic reserves.
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There are more than a dozen LNG export projects currently being proposed to US regulators, though across the industry almost no final investment decisions have been announced over the last 18 months and some developers have delayed their decisions into 2018 or beyond. Few firm supply purchase agreements have been announced for the projects that have yet to commit to moving forward.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Canada's largest energy customer has boosted domestic oil production from less than four million barrels per day in 2008 to 9.2 million bpd now, while gas output has risen from 67 million cubic feet per day to 89 million cf/d.
Egypt’s fledgling solar industry attracted $1.8 billion of investment, largely from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp.
International Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $57.75 per barrel at 0733 GMT, up 58 cents from the previous close, after trading as high as $58.13. U.S. WTI crude was at $51.95 per barrel, up 50 cents. Earlier in the day, it traded as high as $52.22.