Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Lou Gagliardi on Apr 18, 2013 with 3 responses

2013 Crude Oil Outlook: Supply & Demand

Oil Demand Shift

From 2000 the increasing industrialization of the developing world has been the primary catalyst driving the demand for global crude oil. Among non-OECD nations, China and India have led the charge, with Chinese oil demand growing at a torrid 6.7% per annum rate and India’s oil demand growing at 4.0% per annum. Overall non-OECD demand for oil has increased at a comparable rate of 3.6% per annum, with the Asia/Pacific region growing oil demand at roughly 2.7%. Developed nations, however, have seen diminishing oil demand with a negative -.04% per annum growth rate.

2014 OECD non OECD consumption

As I shall point out, the decline in OECD oil demand is not enough to offset the rising demand for oil from the developing world, so the net result going forward will be an increasing supply/demand imbalance. My analysis points to an increasing deficit — gap in global wellhead oil supply — to meet demand.

2014 global oil consumption over production gap

Supply/Demand Imbalance

While demand is being driven by the developing nations, supply from both the OPEC and Non-OPEC producing regions are struggling to meet demand. Since 2000, OPEC wellhead oil production has increased at a per annum rate of 1.3%, and non-OPEC production has actually declined slightly at a per annum rate of -0.3% — combined, a yearly increase of 1.0%.

Despite global economic growth weakening in 2012, from the depths of the Great Worldwide Recession in 2009, global oil demand has increased roughly 1.7% per annum, while supply has increased about 1.5% over the comparable period maintaining our consumption/production gap.

Oil Production Struggling to Grow

WTI and Brent Oil Prices in the Next Few Years

For 2013, WTI should average closer to the last two years’ average of roughly $94/bbl. By 2014, I see the global consumption/production gap beginning to widen, as global economies begin to improve led by developing nations.

WTI should average higher in 2014 from $95 to $100 per barrel aided by better economic growth toward the end of 2013 into 2014, and lessening supply bottlenecks in Cushing, Oklahoma as crude oil logistics increase oil from the Mid-Continent to the Gulf Coast refiners. The WTI-Brent differential should continue to narrow with WTI increasing and Brent prices moving lower.

Indeed, going back to 1989 I see a strong correlation of +82% between WTI prices and the global consumption/production gap. While correlation does not prove causality, nevertheless, since 1989 we can see a positive lag relationship between WTI and the global consumption/production gap. Particularly, once the difference between oil consumption and production turned positive in 1999, we begin to see an acceleration in WTI prices, as global supply begins to outpace global demand.

  1. By Rick on May 3, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Why would brent prices drop if supply is not meeting demand? Shouldn’t this be the other way around?

  2. By Billy Pilgrim on May 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    What data did you use to calculate the consumption/production gap?
    Fact is, almost all of the gap is usually explained by biofuels, oil made from coal and other non-conventional sources, which usually are not included in the production figures.
    How can you estimate a proxy effect of a consumption gas when there is a huge uncertainty over what accounts for REAL gap in this data?

  3. By FingerBlisters on February 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

    From what I can tell, your figures for consumption are off by 1000. Current consumption is around 90MM BPD, not 90,000MM BPD.

Register or log in now to save your comments and get priority moderation!