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Oil demand to drop 8m barrels as air travel dips

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COVID-19: FG, oil companies 've abandoned us, Niger Delta group cries outBy Sebastine Obasi, with agency report

The International Energy Agency, IEA, has warned that demand for oil will plummet by  8.1 million barrels per day (bpd)  in 2020 due to  reduced air travel  occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is expected to further depress oil prices and force oil producers to effect another round of cut in output.

Nigeria’s oil industry sources indicated that this development would cast further shadows over the nation’s 2020 budget which has been reviewed downwards due to drop in revenue occasioned by a huge decline in price of crude oil.

In its latest report, IEA reduced estimates for almost every quarter through to the end of 2021, with the second half of this year taking the steepest downgrades. Air travel remained two-thirds lower than last year in July, normally a peak month because of holiday flying, it said in its monthly report.

“The outlook for jet fuel demand has worsened in recent weeks as the coronavirus has spread more widely,” the Paris-based agency stated. It also explained that global crude supplies increased last month as Saudi Arabia phased out some of the steepest production cuts it’s been making to offset the demand loss, and as improving prices helped the United States and Canada revive some operations.

“Jet fuel demand remains the major source of weakness. In April the number of aviation kilometres travelled was nearly 80 percent down on last year and in July the deficit was still 67 percent. The aviation and road transport sectors, both essential components of oil consumption, are continuing to struggle,”   IEA said in the report.

Despite the downgrades, world markets should tighten during the rest of the year as consumption recovers from the depths of the pandemic, while Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations keep output in check, IEA said.

International crude prices climbed to a five-month high above $45 a barrel in London this week. The agency cut global demand estimates for the last two quarters of this year by 500,000 barrels a day, projecting that consumption will average 95.25 million barrels a day in the period.

READ ALSO: Stocks rise to 8-week high as oil prices gain 1.5 %

The second-half forecast for jet fuel and kerosene was cut by 380,000 barrels a day, putting demand on track to fall 3.1 million barrels a day this year to 4.8 million a day.

IEA also boosted projections for supplies outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, in the second half by about 500,000 barrels a day, as the U.S. and Canada restore halted production. As a result, the market won’t tighten during the rest of the year as sharply as anticipated, but it will still tighten. Demand has been above supply since June, and as OPEC and its partners press on with output curbs, world inventories ought to deplete at a rate of about 4 million barrels a day in the last four months of the year. That should pare some of the gigantic stockpile surplus that built up in the first half, the report added.


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