World oil demand for the first half of 2007 grew by slightly less than 1 mb/d or 1.1% y-o-y to average 85.05 mb/d. Winter was warm in the first half of 2007 in most of the northern hemisphere, which pushed OECD oil demand into the negative by 0.3 mb/d to average 48.85 mb/d. The late cold winter in North America was not enough to offset the loss in OECD oil demand. The first half lost its high seasonality momentum in the first quarter due to the mild winter. Hence, the forecast world oil demand growth was revised down by 0.32 mb/d y-o-y. The products growing most in the first half were gasoil and LPG/ethane which grew by 2% and 1.5% y-o-y respectively. In addition to the fact that the second quarter is not a high season for gasoline consumption, high retail prices marginally curbed transport fuel consumption. Gasoline consumption grew by only 1.1% y-o-y, lower than the initial forecast.
OECD oil demand, affected by the warm winter, led to a decline in oil consumption in both Europe and the Pacific. As a result of fuel switching from fuel oil to gas, fuel oil declined mainly in the OECD countries, causing total oil demand to weaken. Conservation efforts in the OECD countries have had some effect on oil demand within the region. The products that declined the most in the first half were the winter products residual fuel and kerosene by 6.4% and 1.9% respectively. North America’s oil demand grew by 1.7% or 0.42 mb/d y-o-y in the first half of 2007. This growth was mainly attributed to both the fuel oil and gasoline. The strong winter pushed fuel and heating oil consumption in the USA up by 2.6%. As a result of high gasoline prices, US gasoline consumption grew by less than expected at 1.3% to average 9.2 mb/d. OECD Europe experienced a mild winter which pushed oil demand changes to the negative on a y-o-y basis. OECD Europe’s oil demand declined in the first half of the year by 0.5 mb/d y-o-y to average 15 mb/d. OECD Pacific also experienced an unusually warm winter which reduced the consumption of residual oil and kerosene which is commonly used for heating in Japan. Japan’s oil demand continued its downward behaviour which began last year. Japan’s domestic sales declined by 5.6% in the first half of 2007. The warm winter in the Pacific reduced Japan’s use of heating kerosene by 10.3% or 0.08 mb/d. Furthermore, the low demand for electricity and the increase in the utilization of nuclear generation over 70% reduced the need for fuel oil by 0.1 mb/d y-o-y in the first half. Total OECD oil demand for the first half of 2007 declined by 0.6% y-o-y.
Non-OECD oil demand was as strong as expected. Booming economies pushed oil demand up by 3.5% or 1.22 mb/d y-o-y in the first half of 2007. China, the Middle East, and India accounted for the largest share of the oil demand. Diesel, which represents 30% of total Non-OECD countries oil consumption, grew the most by 6.4% to average 10.8 mb/d on industrial and agricultural consumption. Jet kerosene and gasoline were in high demand in the first half of 2007. Both products grew by 0.16 mb/d and 0.1 mb/d to average 2.6 mb/d and 6.6 mb/d respectively. The Chinese economy showed strong growth in the first half of the year which in turn called for more oil to be used in all sectors. China’s new car registration grew by 23% y-o-y in the first half of the year. Other industries such as agriculture, construction, and tourism made modest contributions to China’s oil demand in the first half of the year. China’s oil demand for the first quarter was a little below expectations which was attributed to weak demand in February; however, strong secondquarter oil demand boosted first half apparent demand to show growth of 0.4 mb/d or 5.5% y-o-y to average 7.6 mb/d. According to press releases in China, the country managed to reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2.8% which was less than the preset target which is 4% for the whole year. Last year, China managed to achieve only 1.3% for the same set target of 4%. Strong economic activities in the Middle East led to strong oil demand. Therefore, the Middle East oil demand growth in the first half of the year reached 0.32 mb/d to average 6.44 mb/d. Transport fuel price subsidies, along with the construction and petrochemical sectors, were the main drivers behind Middle East oil demand in the first half of 2007. In addition to these drivers, agriculture and limited fuel switching capability were the main reasons behind the strong oil demand growth in India over the same time period. Although the rainy weather disrupted transportation activities in Northern India, causing demand for diesel to weaken early in the year, oil consumption picked up to show a six-month growth of 0.12 mb/d or 4.5% to average 2.8 mb/d, which was above the previous forecast.