MOSCOW (MRC) -- Based on today’s policy settings, global oil demand is set to rise every year through 2026, but stronger policies and behavior changes could bring a peak in demand soon, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
World oil markets have rebounded from the massive demand shock triggered by Covid-19 but still face a high degree of uncertainty that is testing the industry as never before, according to a new IEA report.
The forecast for global oil demand has shifted lower, and demand could peak earlier than previously thought if a rising focus by governments on clean energy turns into stronger policies and behavioral changes induced by the pandemic become deeply rooted, according to Oil 2021, the IEA’s latest annual medium-term market report. But in the report’s base case, which reflects current policy settings, oil demand is set to rise to 104 million barrels a day (mmbpd) by 2026, up 4% from 2019 levels.
"The Covid-19 crisis caused a historic decline in global oil demand – but not necessarily a lasting one. Achieving an orderly transition away from oil is essential to meet climate goals, but it will require major policy changes from governments as well as accelerated behavioral changes. Without that, global oil demand is set to increase every year between now and 2026,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “For the world’s oil demand to peak anytime soon, significant action is needed immediately to improve fuel efficiency standards, boost electric vehicle sales and curb oil use in the power sector."
Those actions – combined with increased teleworking, greater recycling and reduced business travel – could reduce oil use by as much as 5.6 mb/d by 2026, which would mean that global oil demand never gets back to where it was before the pandemic.
Asia will continue to dominate growth in global oil demand, accounting for 90% of the increase between 2019 and 2026 in the IEA report’s base case. By contrast, demand in many advanced economies, where vehicle ownership and oil use per capita are much higher, is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels.
The global refining sector is struggling with excess capacity. Shutdowns of at least 6 mb/d will be required to allow utilization rates to return to normal levels. Meanwhile, China, the Middle East and India continue to drive new capacity growth. As a result, Asian crude oil imports are forecast to surge to 27 mmbpd by 2026, requiring record levels of Middle Eastern crude and Atlantic Basin production to fill the gap.
As per MRC, crude oil futures fell own during the mid-morning trade in Asia March 18, after the Energy Information Administration showed a build in crude and product inventories, even as a free-falling US dollar provided some cushion to the market. At 10:40 am Singapore time (0240 GMT), the ICE Brent May contract was down 38 cents/b (0.56%) from the March 17 settle at USD67.62/b, while the April NYMEX light sweet crude contract was down 37 cents/b (0.57%) at USD64.23/b.
As MRC informed before, the largest US refinery, Motiva Enterprises’ 607,000 barrel-per-day Port Arthur, Texas, plant, returned to normal operations. The refinery was shut on Feb. 15 when freezing temperatures, rarely seen on the US Gulf Coast, knocked out steam supply. Motiva began restarting the refinery on Feb. 24.
Motiva Chemicals has also resumed operations at its mixed-feed cracker in Port Arthur, USA. The process of restart of this cracker with the capacity of 635,000 mt/year of ethylene and 340,000 mt/year of propylene began on 27 February, 2021, and finished late last week. The cracker wa shut along with the refinery at the same site on 14 February, 2021, because of the deep freeze.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 241,030 tonnes in January 2021 versus 217,890 tonnes a year earlier. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 141,870 tonnes in January 2021 versus 123,520 tonnes a year earlier. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.