By Giulia Petroni


Global oil markets are expected to face a major surplus by the end of this decade, with spare capacity hitting levels only seen during the initial stages of the pandemic as demand growth slows and supply surges, the International Energy Agency said.

Oil-demand growth is forecast to slow down in the coming years, reaching 105.4 million barrels a day in 2030, as the rollout of clean-energy technologies accelerates, according to the Paris-based organization. Meanwhile, oil-production capacity is set to ramp up to nearly 113.8 million barrels a day, driven by producers in the U.S. and the Americas.

"This would result in levels of spare capacity never seen before other than at the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020," the IEA said on Wednesday. "Such a massive oil production buffer could usher in a lower oil price environment, posing tough challenges for producers in the U.S. shale patch and the OPEC+ bloc."

Despite the slowdown, global oil demand in 2030 is still forecast to rise by 3.2 million barrels a day from 2023, the agency said. The increase will be driven by strong demand from economies in Asia, particularly India and China. But rising electric-car sales, fuel-efficiency improvements and the use of renewables for electricity generation will increasingly offset gains.

In advanced economies, demand is forecast to fall from around 45.7 million barrels per day in 2023 to 42.7 million barrels per day in 2030. Excluding the pandemic, the last time that oil demand was that low was in 1991, according to the IEA.

Meanwhile, global production capacity growth will be led by producers outside of the OPEC+ alliance-particularly the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Argentina and Guyana-which are forecast to account for three quarters of the expected increase to 2030.

OPEC+ oil production capacity is forecast to grow by 1.4 million barrels a day from 2023 through 2030, led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. According to the IEA, the cartel and its allies will see their share of world oil production fall below 50% from this year onward.

Looking at the short term, the agency cut its forecast for global oil-demand growth to 960,000 barrels a day this year from previous estimates of 1.1 million barrels a day, as weak deliveries in OECD countries pushed global demand in a narrow contraction in March.

Oil-demand growth for next year is now forecast at 1 million barrels a day from 1.2 million barrels a day previously on lackluster economic growth, the increasing use of electric vehicles and efficiency gains. Total demand is expected to reach an average of 103.2 million barrels a day in 2024 and 104.2 million barrels a day in 2025.

Wednesday's reports came as Brent crude trades around $82 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate is around $78 a barrel. Both benchmarks rallied about 3% earlier this week as traders seem to be buying the dip following an oil selloff sparked by OPEC+'s plan to unwind some of its production cuts.

Prices are supported by expectations that summer fuel demand and output curbs from OPEC+ will lead to a sizable deficit in the third quarter. Still, bearish sentiment continues to dominate the market, with prospects of higher-for-longer interest rates in the U.S. damping the commodity's demand outlook.

The agency's projections remain well below OPEC's, as the cartel forecasts global oil-demand growth of 2.2 million barrels a day this year and 1.8 million barrels a day in 2025.

Total oil supply is now expected to be higher, reaching an average of 102.9 million barrels a day this year and 104.7 million barrels a day the next from previous expectations of 102.7 million barrels a day and 104.5 million barrels a day, respectively, the IEA said. Non-OPEC+ countries are still set to lead global supply, the agency said, with production expected to grow by 1.4 million barrels a day in 2024 and 1.5 million barrels a day in 2025.

OPEC+ production is forecast to fall 740,000 barrels a day this year if the group keeps its voluntary output cuts in place, and to flip to a growth of 320,000 barrels a day the next. The cartel and its allies agreed to extend voluntary curbs of 2.2 million barrels a day to the end of September and said they aim to gradually unwind them from October 2024 to September 2025, contingent on market conditions.

Meanwhile, Russian crude exports rose by 100,000 barrels a day in May to 7.7 million barrels a day, while export revenue fell 0.6% compared with the previous month to $16.8 billion, the IEA said. Russia's oil production is expected to decrease by 260,000 barrels a day this year to 10.7 million barrels a day as the country carries out deeper OPEC+ production cuts, but supply is forecast to remain broadly steady through 2030 supported by the Vostok Oil project in the Arctic.


Write to Giulia Petroni at giulia.petroni@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-12-24 0429ET