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EIA Cuts Forecast for Non-OPEC Oil, Demand Growth

Source: Reuters 3/6/2012, Location: Europe

The U.S. Energy Information Administration cut its estimates for oil production growth outside of OPEC countries this year and next and also reduced its estimates on oil demand growth.

Citing factors including recent oil supply disruptions in South Sudan, Yemen and the North Sea, EIA cut its 2012-output growth forecast for non-OPEC countries by 80,000 barrels per day in 2012 and by 170,000 bpd in 2013, according to the March Short Term Energy Outlook released.

Non-OPEC production in 2012 is expected to average 52.46 million bpd, while 2013 output is forecast to average 53.22 million bpd, the EIA said.

The U.S. government's energy statistics arm also reduced its estimate for 2012 oil demand growth by 260,000 barrels per day to 1.06 million bpd, while 2013 demand growth was revised down by 120,000 bpd to a forecasted 1.37 million bpd increase.

U.S. oil demand has flagged this year amid high fuel prices, and total demand for oil products in the world's top oil consumer has hovered near a 15-year low in recent weeks.

Led by an up tick in oil demand outside of highly industrialized OECD countries, the EIA said global consumption this year and next should outpace production growth outside of OPEC.

"Several notable disruptions to non-OPEC production commenced or intensified over the last two months, leaving an average of around 1 million bbl/d offline in February," the agency said.

It cited an oil export dispute between Sudan and South Sudan that shut down the southern nation's output in January and should continue crimping shipments. It also cited production curbs in strife-torn Yemen and Syria.

Consuming countries are expected to rely on rising output in OPEC countries to meet the growth in world demand. OPEC crude oil production should rise by 490,000 bpd and 560,000 bpd in 2012 and 2013, respectively, EIA forecast.

The EIA said transportation bottlenecks in the U.S. Midwest should keep prices for U.S. crude oil futures at an average around $106 per barrel through 2013. WTI traded on Tuesday around $105 a barrel.

U.S. gasoline prices should average $3.92 per gallon during the April to September driving season, up nearly 6 percent from the 2010 driving season, according to EIA.

WTI futures could remain in the same price range next year, even as the price of London-traded Brent futures is expected to rise, as more Canadian and shale crude flows into the landlocked Midwestern U.S. delivery terminal of Cushing, Oklahoma, where it is priced.

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