MOSCOW (MRC) -- EIA forecasts that crude oil prices will fall in 2022 and 2023 from 2021 levels, according to its January 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
In the fourth quarter of 2021, the price of Brent crude oil, the international pricing benchmark, averaged USD79 per barrel (b). EIA forecasts that the price of Brent will average USD75/b in 2022 and USD68/b in 2023.
The declining prices are driven by a shift from global petroleum inventory declines during 2021 to inventory increases in 2022 and 2023. Global petroleum inventories decline when consumption is greater than production and increase when production is greater than consumption.
In 2021, withdrawals from global petroleum inventories averaged 1.4 million barrels per day (b/d) and contributed to higher crude oil prices. These inventory draws resulted from petroleum consumption returning faster than petroleum production after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. In 2022, we expect that petroleum production will increase and consumption growth will slow, leading to increases in petroleum inventories globally.
EIA expects global petroleum production to increase by 5.5 million b/d in 2022, driven by production increases in the United States, OPEC, and Russia, which together account for 84%, or 4.6 million b/d, of the growth. According to its forecast, increased tight oil production in the United States and gradually increasing crude oil production from OPEC+ (which includes OPEC members and Russia) will account for most of the increased crude oil production.
The global petroleum consumption will increase by 3.6 million b/d in 2022, driven by more consumption in the United States and China, which together account for 39% of the consumption growth. We forecast that global petroleum inventories will increase by 0.5 million b/d in 2022, which will put downward pressure on crude oil prices. EIA forecasts that the price of Brent crude oil in 2022 will fall from USD79/b in the first quarter to USD71/b in the fourth quarter.
In 2023, EIA expects continued inventory growth, averaging 0.6 million b/d. Global petroleum production will increase by 1.8 million b/d in 2023 from 2022, averaging 102.8 million b/d. In 2023, most of the growth in global petroleum production comes from producers in the United States and Russia. Production in the United States is forecast to increase by 0.8 million b/d, and production in Russia is forecast to increase by 0.3 million b/d. We forecast that OPEC production will increase by 0.1 million b/d in 2023.
Global petroleum consumption in 2023 will increase by 1.8 million b/d. Like in 2022, the growth is largely driven by rising consumption in the United States and China, which, according to EIA's forecast, will account for 43% of the consumption growth in 2023. India's petroleum consumption growth accounts for another 14% of the global total.
As MRC wrote before, oil supply will soon overtake demand as some producers are set to pump at or above all-time highs, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last Wednesday, while demand holds up despite the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
We remind that global oil refining capacity fell for the first time in 30 years last year, as new capacity was outweighed by closures, said the International Energy Agency's (IEA) in its monthly oil market report on Wednesday. Refining capacity was down by 730,000 bpd in 2021, the IEA said, but net additions were expected to amount to 1.2 MMbpd in 2022.