Global oil demand will contract by 2.8 million b/d, or 2.8%, this year as worldwide measures to slow the spread of coronavirus pandemic continue to escalate, Norway-based consultant Rystad Energy said Wednesday
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With new travel restrictions and quarantine lockdowns being announced around the world on a daily basis, global oil demand is expected to average 97.1 million b/d in 2020, down from 99.9 million b/d in 2019, Rystad said.
The estimate is a massive jump from its last forecast of a 600,000 b/d fall in 2020 oil demand a week ago. Rystad said it expects the biggest demand hit to come in April, with demand for oil falling by as much as 11 million b/d year on year.
"This downgrade takes into account developments that happened within the course of last week such as the new quarantine lockdowns across Europe and the declaration of a state of emergency in the US, as well as our updated simulations of the virus' growth patterns this year," Rystad said in a note.
Comparative demand estimates
Jet will be the fuel hit the hardest, it said, forecasting jet fuel demand falling by 12% year on year, or at least 800,000 b/d from last year's average of about 7.2 million b/d.
"We expect global commercial air traffic will fall by approximately 20% this year versus the levels seen in 2019, which we estimate stood at around 99,700 flights per day," Rystad said.
Global demand for road fuels is now expected to fall by 2.2%, or 1.1 million b/d year on year, it said, from 49.7 million b/d in 2019. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, road fuel demand was expected to grow to 50.3 million b/d in 2020.
Rystad's latest estimate is the most pessimistic yet by forecasters on the potential impact on oil demand from the coronavirus crisis.
On Friday, Facts Global Energy estimated global oil demand would fall 1.3 million b/d in 2020, and S&P Global Analytics forecast on March 11 that demand would shrink by 960,000 b/d under a worst-case scenario.
The International Energy Agency on Match 9 forecast a contraction in global demand for 2020 of 90,000 b/d -- which would be the first shrinkage in consumption since the financial crisis in 2009.