(EnergyAsia, October 1 2012, Monday) — For the third consecutive month, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has maintained its forecasts for global oil demand to grow by 900,000 b/d to 88.74 million b/d in 2012 and by 800,000 b/d to 89.55 million b/d next year.

The cartel’s outlook contrasts that of the US Energy Information Administration’s which expects global oil demand to grow at a faster rate in 2013 than 2012.

In its September report, OPEC focused on downside risks to the oil markets from the slowing global economy, adding that it could slash its 2013 demand growth forecast by 20% on the potentially bearish impact of “variables” like GDP, retail petroleum prices and weather.

In recent weeks, it noted the combined impact of soaring fuel demand from India and Japan.

Indian diesel demand for emergency power generation rose sharply following the two-day massive power blackout in the northern half of the country on July 31 and August 1. Even before the blackout, OPEC said Indian diesel use had surged by 170,000 b/d or 13% in July.

The shut-down of most of Japan’s nuclear power plants has led to excess use of crude and fuel oil burning during the summer, said OPEC.

The cartel also held unchanged its forecasts for the world economy to grow by 3.3% in 2012 and 3.2% next year.

It expects the US economy to grow by 2.3% in 2012 and 2% in 2013, and Japan’s to come in at 2.7% this year and 1.2% in 2013.

The Euro-zone is seen returning to growth of 0.1%, following a contraction of 0.4% in 2012. Growth expectations for China stand at 8.1% and 8%, while India’s expansion is forecast at 6.3% and 6.6%.