By Wendell Roelf
CAPETOWN (Reuters) – OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said on Wednesday that world oil consumption would hit 100 million barrels per day later this year, “much sooner” than earlier projected.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers led by Russia last year began withholding 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of supplies to tighten the oil market and prop up prices that in 2016 fell to their lowest in more than a decade.
Both Russia and OPEC leader Saudi Arabia have spoken about the need for a gradual increase in oil production as the goal of removing excessive oil stockpiles has now been achieved and the market has been broadly balanced.
“The world will attain the 100 million barrels a day mark of consumption later this year, much sooner than we all earlier projected. Therefore stabilising forces which create conditions conducive to attracting investments are essential,” Barkindo told an oil and power conference in South Africa’s Cape Town.
He added that oil industry confidence was beginning to return and that OPEC was exploring ways of further institutionalising a declaration of cooperation on oil output between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers.
“Going forward, the priority … is on ensuring stability is sustainable, spreading confidence in the industry and encouraging an environment conducive to the return of investments,” he added.
(Writing by Alexander Winning; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)