(EnergyAsia, May 24 2011, Tuesday) — OPEC expects world oil demand to grow by 1.4 million b/d in 2011, broadly unchanged from the previous report, following an increase of 2.1 million b/d last year.

It said post-quake Japan and “economic uncertainty” in the US will offset continued demand growth in China, balancing the outlook for global oil demand growth.

In its latest monthly report, the cartel said:

“The world economic growth forecast for 2011 remains unchanged at 3.9%, although there have been some offsetting revisions. The US economy has shown some slowdown recently and, while it is expected to regain momentum, the forecast has been reduced to 2.6% from 2.9%.

“Euro-zone growth has been increased to 1.7% from 1.5%, backed by continued expansion in the manufacturing sector and improving domestic demand. Japan’s economy is still forecast to decline by 0.1% following the recent tragic events.

“Developing Asia is expected to contribute the most to global growth in 2011, with China growing by 9% and India by 8.1%. Risks still appear to be skewed downward due to sovereign debt concerns, rising inflation across the globe leading to higher interest rates and potential overheating in developing Asia.”

OPEC kept unchanged its forecast for world demand for its crude at 29.9 million b/d, about 400,000 b/d higher than last year. The world consumed about 29.5 million b/d of OPEC crude last year.

The cartel expects non-OPEC oil supply to increase by 600,000 b/d in 2011 to follow on growth of 1.1 million b/d in 2010. This represents an upward revision of 65,000 b/d over the previous report.

OPEC said its April crude oil production was estimated to average 28.99 million b/d, an increase of 70,000 b/d over the previous month.

Citing political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, the world’s improved economic outlook and a weaker US dollar, OPEC said its reference basket price rose in April to average $118.09 a barrel, up $8.25 from the previous month and $35.76 from a year earlier.