Oil-Supply Growth Expected to Lag Behind Demand Next Year

Oil-Supply Growth Expected to Lag Behind Demand Next Year

Global demand for oil will rise above prepandemic levels next year following three years of Covid-19 lockdowns and the economic shock of the Ukraine war, the International Energy Agency said.

Much of the growth in demand next year will be driven by China, as it emerges from stop-start Covid-19 lockdowns, while developed are expected to contend with a worsening economic outlook and rampant inflation.

Meanwhile, the IEA expects supply growth to lag behind demand, pushing an already tight market witnessing soaring prices into a 500,000-barrel-a-day deficit. US oil producers are expected to underpin supply increases next year, while members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are seen continuing to struggle to meet their output targets.

Rising oil costs have helped push the national average price for a gallon of $5 for the first time, and that’s leading to increased inflation pressure across the US economy. Photo illustration: Todd Johnson

Demand for crude will rise by 2.2 million barrels a day to 101.6 million barrels a day in 2023, putting it above its 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic first hit, the Paris-based agency said Wednesday in its closely watched oil market report . It is the first time the IEA has offered forecasts for 2023.

Developed nations in Europe and North America most contributed to rebounding in 2022, but a less developed demand that aren’t members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will make up 80% of oil demand growth in 2022, the IEA said.

China, which has seen economic growth struggle this year as a result of resurgent Covid-19 cases and lockdowns, is expected to see oil demand grow by 930,000 barrels a day in 2023, helping to re-establish its “position as the primary engine of global oil-demand growth,” the IEA said.

Meanwhile, a rebound in international travel next year will see jet fuel demand jump by 990,000 barrels a day in 2023, it said.

Oil producers, however, are expected to struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of rebounding oil demand. The IEA expects global oil supplies to rise by 1.3 million barrels a day to 101.1 million barrels a day in 2023, leaving a 500,000 barrel-a-day deficit.

Oil prices fell Wednesday after the Federal Reserve officials agreed to a 0.75-percentage-point interest-rate increase in a bid to slow inflation. Brent crude, the international benchmark, dropped 2.2% to end at $118.51 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the main US price, settled 3.04% lower at $115.31 a barrel.

Countries in Europe and North America, having spent years moving their toward greener sources of energy, have been reluctant to pump more oil to ease a brewing supply crisis that emerged in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The major oil producers that comprise OPEC+—an alliance of OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia—have struggled to meet their targets for modest supply hikes, beset by technical issues and capacity constraints.

The supply issues amounted to a shortfall of 2.8 million barrels a day as of the last month between the group’s targeted and actual production, the IEA said Wednesday.

The IEA expects OPEC+’s issue to continue into 2023. The agency forecasts that OPEC+ output will fall by 500,000 barrels a day to 51.1 million barrels a day in 2023. Meanwhile, supplies from non-OPEC+ members are forecast to rise by 1.8 million barrels a day to 50 million barrels a day.

For the current year, the IEA kept its demand forecast unchanged at 99.4 million barrels a day. In 2019, before the pandemic hit, demanded stood at 100.4 million barrels.

The IEA raised its 2022 oil supply forecasts by 600,000 barrels a day to 99.8 million barrels a day. That means the agency sees a 400,000 barrel-a-day surplus in the oil market this year.

Write to Will Horner at William.Horner@wsj.com

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