Oil Market Report – January 2024 – Analysis – IEA

Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which accounts for one-third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, has markets on edge at the start of 2024. US and UK airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen in response to attacks on tankers in the Red Sea by the Iran-backed group, have raised concerns that an escalation of the conflict could further disrupt the flow of oil via key trade chokepoints. While oil and LNG production have not been impacted, a rising number of ship owners are diverting cargoes away from the Red Sea. At the time of writing, Brent futures were just above $77/bbl and WTI around $72/bbl.

Barring significant disruptions to oil flows, the market looks reasonably well supplied in 2024, with higher-than-expected non-OPEC+ production increases set to outpace oil demand growth by a healthy margin. While OPEC+ supply management policies may tip the oil market into a small deficit at the start of the year, strong growth from non-OPEC+ producers could lead to a substantial surplus if the OPEC+ group’s extra voluntary cuts are unwound in 2Q24.

Global oil supply is forecast to rise by 1.5 mb/d to a new high of 103.5 mb/d in 2024. The Americas – led by the United States, Brazil, Guyana and Canada – will dominate gains in 2024, just as the region did last year. After a steep rise in output in 4Q23, global oil supply is expected to decline this month as a blast of cold weather sweeping through the United States and Canada takes a toll on oil operations.

Increases in global oil demand are set to halve from 2.3 mb/d in 2023 to 1.2 mb/d this year, with the post-Covid recovery all but complete, GDP growth below trend in major economies, and as energy efficiency improvements and electrification of the vehicle fleet curb oil use. Over the course of 2023, the pace of demand growth outside of China slowed significantly, to around 300 kb/d on average during 2H23. China will continue to lead oil demand growth in 2024, with its expanding petrochemical sector gaining an ever-larger share.

At the start of 2024, the risk of global oil supply disruptions from the Middle East conflict remains elevated, particularly for oil flows via the Red Sea and, crucially, the Suez Canal. In 2023, roughly 10% of the world’s seaborne oil trade, or around 7.2 mb/d of crude and oil products, and 8% of global LNG trade passed through this major trade route. The main alternative shipping route around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope extends voyages by up to two weeks – adding pressure on global supply chains and boosting freight and insurance costs.

As always, the IEA stands ready to respond decisively if there is a supply disruption and the global oil market requires additional barrels. IEA member countries collectively hold stocks of around 4 billion barrels, including 1.2 billion barrels of government-controlled stocks held exclusively in case of an emergency. That buffer should help assuage market jitters and angst among governments, industries and energy consumers.

This article was originally published by a www.iea.org . Read the Original article here. .