Aramco CEO sees 'robust' global oil demand growth again this year

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The head of Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company said Monday he sees another year of “robust” growth in global oil demand of ~1.5M barrels to 104M barrels this year.

Saudi Aramco CEO (ARMCO) Amin Nasser’s forecast is roughly half-way between recent forecasts from OPEC and the International Energy Agency.

Nasser said Aramco (ARMCO) remains ready to raise capacity if needed, saying the group has adequate spare capacity of ~3M barrels.

Under cuts agreed by OPEC+, current Saudi oil production totals ~3M bbl/day below its 12M bbl/day maximum sustainable capacity, making it the world’s biggest holder of spare capacity.

Aramco (ARMCO) surprised last month by announcing it would not proceed with plans to boost production capacity to 13M bbl/day by 2027.

“We postponed this investment simply because… we’re transitioning,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said, as Aramco (ARMCO) has other investments to make in areas including oil, gas, petrochemicals and renewables.

U.S. crude oil futures finished little changed Monday but it was enough for a sixth consecutive daily gain, while benchmark Brent crude edged lower, as the catalysts for last week’s strong increases – the Middle East geopolitical risk premium and rising distillate fuel prices – eased to start the week.

Front-month Nymex crude (CL1:COM) for March delivery ended +0.1% to $76.92/bbl, while front-month April Brent crude (CO1:COM) closed -0.2% to $82.00/bbl.

ETFs: (NYSEARCA:USO), (BNO), (UCO), (SCO), (USL), (DBO), (DRIP), (GUSH), (NRGU), (USOI)

Analysts at Morgan Stanley are taking a more upbeat view of global oil markets in 2024, saying recent inventory declines suggest the market has been tighter than initially expected.

Oil inventories were drawn down by ~1.5M bbl/day in January, in contrast to Morgan Stanley’s forecasts, which called for small buildups, driven by better than expected OPEC+ compliance on supply reductions and U.S. crude production that was curbed by cold weather.

The bank raised its estimate for 2024 crude demand growth to 1.5M bbl/day from its prior outlook for 1.3M bbl/day, and hiked its expected Brent price range to $80-$85/bbl from $75-$80/bbl previously.

Roy Walsh

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