LONDON (Reuters) – Crude oil inventories in industrialized countries are ample and the risk to global oil demand growth next year remains skewed to the downside, producer group OPEC said on Tuesday, citing a slowing global economy.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a monthly report, said its own production rose by 254,000 barrels per day in August, despite the July 1 start of a European Union embargo on Iran’s oil exports.
OPEC’s report comes as the United States and other consumer nations are worried about high oil prices. Leaders of the Group of Eight major economies have signaled their readiness to tap into emergency oil stockpiles if needed.
But OPEC said it saw enough crude oil in the market, a day after similar remarks by its top producer Saudi Arabia which were seen by some in the market as a signal to consumers there was no need for a release of emergency reserves.
“OECD crude oil stocks remain at comfortable levels, especially in the U.S. market,” OPEC said in the report.
“As a result, any product shortage could be readily met by higher utilization of idle refinery capacity in a market with abundant crude supplies.”
OPEC left its forecast for 2013 global growth in demand unchanged at 810,000 bpd and repeated that oil use could undershoot that figure by 20 per cent due to uncertainties including a weak economy.