Global oil demand will pass 100 million barrels per day by 2020, says OPEC's Barkindo
OPEC General Secretary Mohammad Barkindo said Thursday that oil markets are rebalancing at "an accelerating rate" and that he foresaw "no peak" for oil demand for "the considerable future."
Speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London, Barkindo said confident prices would rise and global oil demand would grow as the global economy continued to strengthen.
"We expect global oil demand to surpass 100 million barrels per day by 2020," Barkindo told the audience of oil industry leaders. This figure is far above the oil producing group's forecast for 2017 in which global oil demand is expected to be around 96.8 million barrels per day.
This strengthening in global oil demand meant that there was "no peak demand for the considerable future," Barkindo said.
As such, continued investment within the oil industry was crucial, he said, as was a continued working partnership with non-OPEC producers.
"There is a need for us to continue to strengthen our relationship with non-OPEC countries like Russia. the world will continue to need oil for the foreseeable future," he said.
"Together with non-OPEC producers we must continue to invest to make sure the global community and global economy can rely on us as dependable suppliers of oil."
Barkindo's comments come amid close scrutiny of oil markets to see whether oil production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC countries, including Russia, are helping to rebalance oil markets.
Oil prices took a sharp turn downward from mid-2014 onwards on the back of a glut in global supply and lackluster demand. The rise in output from U.S. shale oil producers exacerbated the problem, although many of those U.S. rigs were hit by the decline in prices.
The collaboration between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, particularly oil producers Saudi Arabia (the de-facto leader of OPEC) and Russia, to curb oil output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day has helped to shore up markets.
On Thursday, Barkindo applauded what he called the "unparalled" and "historic" commitment between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers to curb oil output and said it was rapidly stabilizing markets.
"There is no doubt that the market is rebalancing at an accelerating rate," he said. "There is light at the end of the dark tunnel we've been traveling down the last three years," he said, alluding to low oil prices that have plagued oil markets since 2014.
Barkindo said it was "vital that this platform is sustained and built upon."
"We need to ensure that balance is achieved in a full and timely manner," he said. "We also welcome dialogue with producers outside the agreement," he added, referencing U.S. shale oil producers who are are not partaking in output cuts.
There is speculation the deal to curb output will be extended beyond the current deadline of March 2018.
Oil prices have struggled to break through the $60 a barrel mark, however, with benchmark Brent crude futures currently fetching $57.46 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery at $51.36 on Thursday.
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