OPEC trims 2021 demand forecast

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has trimmed its world oil demand forecast for 2021 while maintaining its 2022 view, its monthly report showed on Wednesday, but it said surging natural gas prices could boost demand for oil products as end users switch.

OPEC now expects oil demand to grow by 5.82 MM barrels per day (bpd), down from 5.96 MMbpd in its previous forecast, saying that the downward revision was mainly driven by data for the first three quarters of the year. It maintained a growth forecast of 4.2 MMbpd for next year.

The group of oil-producing countries said, however, that natural gas prices at record highs could provide a potential headwind to oil demand growth as industrial users switch to oil products instead.

"Should this trend continue, fuels such as fuel oil, diesel, and naphtha could see support, driven by higher demand for power generation, refining and petrochemical use," OPEC said.

OPEC+, an alliance between OPEC and other producers led by Russia, agreed this month to stick with its plan for a 400,000 bpd production increase for November as it gradually unwinds output cuts it made to support previously low prices.

In its report, OPEC raised its forecast for 2021 demand for OPEC crude oil by 100,000 bpd to 27.8 MMbpd and by another 100,000 bpd for 2022 to 28.8 MMbpd.

It said that OPEC's output in September rose by about 490,000 bpd to 27.33 MMbpd, according to secondary sources.

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