Global oil demand could collapse by over 16 million bpd in April

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Global oil demand is expected to take the biggest hit in the month of April falling by nearly 16 million barrels per day (bpd) year on year, representing almost a 16% drop. Rystad Energy said this downgrade takes into account developments that happened within the course of last week such as the new COVID-19 quarantine lockdowns across the world, including India’s newly announced 21-day curfew.

“In another shocking consecutive revision of our weekly estimates, our newest forecast for oil demand now projects a decrease of 4.9% for 2020, or 4.9 million barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year. Our estimates show that total oil demand in 2019 was approximately 99.9 million bpd, which is now projected to decline to 95.0 million bpd in 2020,” Rystad Energy said.

To put the number into context, last week the Norway-based energy research and business intelligence company projected a decrease of just 2.8 million bpd.

“We believe that global total demand for road fuels will fall by 5.6%, or 2.8 million bpd year-on-year, a strong downgrade from last week’s report, where road fuels were expected to decline by just 2.2%,” Rysatd Energy pointed out.

Road fuel demand in 2019 is estimated to have reached 49.7 million bpd. Prior to the coronavirus Rystad Energy expected this demand segment to grow to 50.3 million bpd in 2020, but now sees it reaching only about 46.9 million bpd.

Among the various fuel sectors, Rystad Energy expects jet fuel to be hit the hardest. “We expect global commercial air traffic will fall by at least 8% this year versus the levels seen in 2019, which we estimate stood at around 99,700 flights per day.”

This number includes only announced short-term cancellations and will be revised as operators continue to cut routes.

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