OPEC keeps forecast for world oil demand unchanged
BY JENNY GROSS
LONDON--OPEC held steady forecasts of demand for its own crude, a move that could signal the group will maintain its combined oil production ceiling of 30 MMbpd when it meets Wednesday in Vienna.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly oil market report that expected demand for its crude in 2013 remains unchanged from its previous report, standing at 29.7 million MMbpd. This is 400,000 bpd lower than the 2012 level.
The report also kept expectations for growth in world oil demand for 2013 unchanged at 800,000 bpd, which will be covered by strong anticipated production growth from the U.S. and Canada. Non-OPEC supply growth is projected at 900,000 barrels a day in 2013 to average 53.8 MMbpd, also steady since the last report.
OPEC said "weakness in the global economy is causing a great deal of uncertainty for the forecast for world oil demand, which has a downward risk, especially in the first half of the year. A large amount of this risk can be attributed not only to the OECD but also to China and India."
The report said there are high risks associated with oil supply, on both upside and downside, particularly from the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Sudan, China and Mexico.
Despite the uncertainties, OPEC said an improving economic outlook for the coming year "should help support" stability in oil markets.
Iranian output increased by just 5,000 bpd to 2.7 MMbpd in November from October, OPEC's secondary sources said. Iran denies that sanctions have caused such a sharp slide in production and says it produced 3.7 MMbpd in November.
Nigeria's production was at 1.9 MMbpd in November, down 102,000 bpd from October, according to OPEC's secondary sources. Flooding and pipeline sabotage forced oil majors to declare force majeure on production in Africa's biggest oil producer.
Meanwhile Iraq is producing 3.2 MMbpd of crude. A top energy adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, Thamir Ghadhban, said earlier this year Iraq plans to increase output to 3.4 MMbpd by the end of this year and to 4.4 MMbpd in 2014.
Saudi Arabia's output fell slightly in November from October, to 9.7 MMbpd, according to OPEC's secondary sources.
Markets will now be watching out for the oil-market predictions of the International Energy Agency, which represents some of the world's largest oil consumers, which are due Wednesday.