By Udeme Akpan
Despite the prolonged Coronavirus pandemic, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has predicted that the global demand will increase by six million barrels per day, mb/d in 2021.
Speaking at the International Monetary and Financial Committee Meeting, April 8, 2021, via videoconference, monitored by Vanguard, Secretary-General, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Dr. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, said: “The global economy and, consequently, the global oil market is slowly emerging from one of the most severe crises in recent history, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In 2020, countries around the world virtually shut down, imposed travel restrictions, and mandated social-distancing measures. These measures are still necessary for some regions to combat new waves of infections and virus mutations, with a recovery to pre-pandemic levels not yet projected for 2021. Following an estimated decline of 3.5% in 2020, the OPEC Secretariat forecasts global economic growth of 5.4% in 2021.
“The measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 not only severely affected global economic growth, but they also caused a historic demand shock in the oil market, which led to extreme volatility in oil prices. The impact of the lockdown measures has disproportionally affected mobility and thereby fuel demand. World oil demand is therefore estimated by the Secretariat to have contracted by a very significant 9.5 mb/d in 2020 and is forecast to grow by around 6 mb/d in 2021.
“Similarly, non-OPEC supply suffered from the unprecedented events and is estimated to have declined by around 2.5 mb/d in 2020, while it is forecast to grow by around 1 mb/d in 2021.
“In response to the global crisis and the massive oil demand contraction, OPEC and 10 non-OPEC participating countries under the ‘Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) acted swiftly and decisively to contribute to more stability in the oil market, by voluntarily adjusting production. These are the largest and longest in duration in the history of the oil industry, lasting until well into 2022.”
He added: “A series of technical and ministerial Meetings of both the OPEC Conference and the countries participating in the DoC throughout 2020 and 2021 have successfully responded to market challenges and confirmed the commitment to sustainable oil market stability. These joint efforts succeeded in driving down the unprecedentedly high commercial oil inventories. In closing, OPEC would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its longstanding commitment to supporting oil market stability for the mutual benefit of consuming and producing nations, contributing significantly to addressing the common challenges to the global economy.”
However, the oil prices continue to drop in the international market, mainly due to prolonged pandemic, which has slowed down economic and other activities globally.
For instance, the price of Nigeria’s Bonny Light slipped to $60.60 from $63.50 recorded early this week, apparently because of the resurgence of the pandemic in China, a major Nigeria’s crude buyer.