(EnergyAsia, March 28 2014, Friday) — After five months of consecutive increases, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has trimmed its March forecasts for global oil demand growth for 2014.

The world will consume 91.60 million this year and b/d 92.97 million b/d in 2015, said the US agency’s latest monthly short-term energy outlook, compared with its record February call for consumption to reach 92.99 million b/d and 91.62 million b/d for the two respective years.

Global oil demand is seen growing by 1.5% in 2015, and by 1.35% this year, compared with the previous projected growth rates of 1.5% and 1.39%.

The slight pullback reflects uncertainty in the outlook on the Chinese economy, and weaker expectations for growth in Japan and Europe.

The EIA expects Japan’s oil consumption to fall by an annual average of 150,000 b/d in 2014 and 2015 as it looks to natural gas to generate electricity, and restarts some of its idled nuclear power plants. Having fallen by 60,000 b/d in 2013, OECD Europe’s oil consumption is seen falling by another 60,000 b/d this year and stay flat in 2015.

“US liquids consumption, which increased by 400,000 b/d in 2013, is expected to remain flat in 2014 and then increase by 100,000 b/d in 2015,” said the EIA.

On the supply front, the EIA expects non-OPEC liquids production to grow by 1.8 million b/d in 2014 and 1.5 million next year after increasing by 1.3 million b/d last year to reach 54 million b/d.

The US and Canada will continue to account for the new supplies, totalling 1.3 million b/d in 2014 and 1.2 million b/d in 2015. Brazil is expected to raise production by 150,000 b/d over the next two years from new deepwater fields while the Asia-Pacific region led by China will boost output by 180,000 b/d over the forecast period.

The EIA warned of unplanned supply disruptions, with South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen contributing to 80% of non-OPEC’s total production loss of 700,000 b/d in February. There could be more losses to follow given the uncertainties in Ukraine.

The EIA estimates that OPEC crude oil production fell by 900,000 b/d to average 30 million b/d in 2013, due largely to increased outages in Libya, Nigeria and Iraq.

The agency expects OPEC crude oil production to fall by 500,000 b/d in 2014, and by a further 300,000 b/d in 2015, due mostly to cutbacks by Saudi Arabia to accommodate rising non-OPEC supplies.

EIA expects OPEC surplus capacity, largely concentrated in Saudi Arabia, to average 2.6 million b/d in 2014 and 3.9 million b/d in 2015.

March 2014: EIA’s world liquids demand forecast, in million b/d
2013 *    2014 *    y/y %    2015 *    y/y %
N. America    23.29    23.32    0.13    23.45    0.56
China        10.66    11.05    3.66    11.49    3.98
Others        56.43    57.10    1.19    58.03    1.63
TOTAL        90.38    91.60    1.35    92.97    1.50
*estimates & forecasts

EIA’s monthly forecasts
2014    2014/2013     2015    2015/2014
March    2014        91.60    1.35%        92.97    1.5%
February        91.62    1.39%        92.99    1.5%
January        91.59    1.33%        92.96    1.5%

2013    2013/2012     2014    2014/2013
December 2013    90.28    1.25%        91.43    1.27%
November        90.25    1.21%        91.39    1.26%
October        90.26    1.09%        91.43    1.30%
September        90.06    1.25%        91.25    1.32%
August            89.99    1.23%        91.21    1.36%
July             90.05    0.99%        91.29    1.38%
June            90.03     0.98%        91.22    1.32%
May            89.93     1.00%        91.14    1.35%
April            90.00    1.08%        91.33    1.48%