VIENNA (AFP) – The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Monday it was maintaining its forecast for growth of world oil demand in 2007 unchanged at 1.5 percent.
In its monthly report for April the 11-member exporters’ group said it was noting a drop of oil inventories in America and Europe.
The estimates showed that world oil demand in 2007 was expected to grow by 1.5 percent, or by 1.3 million barrels a day (bpd) to 85.44 million barrels.
In its previous report the cartel had forecast a volume of 85.48 million barrels per day, just 0.04 percent higher than the April forecast.
“World oil demand growth in March was not as strong as in the previous month, although oil demand picked up worldwide due to the normal winter in North America and strong economic activities in the Middle East,” OPEC said in the report.
“World oil demand growth for 2007 is forecast at 1.3 mbd or
1.5 percent, with no major changes from the last…estimate,” it said.
The demand forecast was revised upwards for the first quarter in north America where winter weather came late, while it has been revised downwards overall in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) zone, where the winter has been mild.
Commercial stocks in the United States decreased by 4.8 million barrels to 982 million barrels at the end of March “or seven percent below the average for the past five years,” OPEC said.
In Europe, in the 15 countries which joined before the bloc’s 2004 and 2007 enlargements along with Norway, stocks were down to 1.152 million barrels.
At its ministerial meeting in mid-March in Vienna the cartel decided not to modify its production quotas.