IEA: China, India To Boost Oil Demand

PARIS (AP) -- World oil demand will grow faster than earlier expected through 2015 due to stronger economic growth, particularly in developing countries like China and India, the International Energy Agency forecast Wednesday.

The IEA, which advises oil-consuming countries, said world oil demand will grow by an average of 1.4 percent annually through 2015. That compares with last year's forecast of average annual demand growth of 0.6 percent over the 2008-2014 period.

Demand would reach 92 million barrels a day by 2015, assuming annual economic growth of 4.5 percent from 2010.

The Paris-based agency said it expects a strong rise in oil demand in China, India and the Middle East, but weaker or flat growth elsewhere, particularly in Europe where the economy is fragile.

"Oil and gas markets are starting to show signs of recovery, but the impact of the recession differs across regions, and the outlook remains very uncertain," Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA, said in a statement.

Demand should recover to pre-crisis levels by 2010, the agency said.

Under a scenario of lower average economic growth of 3 percent per year, oil demand would grow by around 1 percent annually, it said.

Spare capacity among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could decline as soon as next year, the IEA said.

It expects new OPEC capacity from 2014, but supply may not keep pace with demand and the IEA said there could be "jittery" markets ahead.

Oil prices fell to near $77 a barrel Wednesday in Europe as support for a four-week rally fizzled out.

The IEA also published its outlook for the natural gas market, combining the publication of the two reports for the first time in expectation that there could be some crossover.

Natural gas demand will pick up in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, returning to 2008 levels by 2012, the agency said.

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