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The coronavirus crisis has sparked talk that the world might have reached peak oil demand but the OPEC cartel sees crude consumption continuing to grow during the next quarter century, driven in large part by greater use of cars in developing countries.
In its latest forecasts, released Thursday, OPEC sees surprisingly little long-term impact despite the coronavirus pandemic plunging the global economy and oil demand into a tailspin.
While the pace of economic recovery will dictate how fast oil consumption rebounds, even OPEC’s scenario of a slow healing sees an eventual return to increased demand.
“At the global level, oil demand is expected to increase by almost 10 mbd (million barrels per day) over the long-term, rising from 99.7 mbd in 2019 to… 109.1 mbd in 2045,” the cartel said in its latest World Oil Outlook.
This baseline scenario represents 9.4 percent growth from pre-coronavirus consumption levels.
Under its slow growth scenario, OPEC expects 5.0 percent growth in oil demand.
And even with fast adoption of green technologies and tougher climate change policies, the cartel still sees a 3.1 percent increase in consumption.
OPEC’s forecast contrasts with that of some industry players, including major oil firms such as BP, which in its latest long-term estimates predicted that oil demand had already peaked or would soon do so thanks to increased use of renewable energy and the impact of the coronavirus.
Yet even the cartel’s forecasts reveal the impact of the changes already underway in certain regions.
It sees oil demand as having