EDINBURGH, SINGAPORE, and HOUSTON - World oil demand reached an all-time quarterly high in the third quarter of 2010, according to analysts at Wood Mackenzie, and oil demand for the year as a whole might also reach a new record high. The independent consulting firm found that economic growth in Asia, and particularly in China, caused world oil demand to reach an average of 88.3 million barrels per day (Mb/d) in the third quarter of 2010. In early December, the analysts forecasted an annual average of 86.7 Mb/d for 2010 as a whole. If that projection proves true, the new record will be about 100,000 barrels per day higher than the record set in 2007.

One indicator of the growing demand for oil in Asia is that Chinese demand for gasoline, diesel fuel, and heating oil grew at about 8 percent annually in 2010, based on provisional data through September. In India, the demand for diesel fuel and heating oil is growing at 7 percent per year, while the demand for gasoline is growing at 11 percent per year. As a result, 2010 will go in the record books among the years with the fastest growth in oil demand. In recent years, only 2004 experienced faster growth. Looking ahead, Wood Mackenzie forecasts a slight moderation in the growth in world oil demand, reaching 88.1 Mb/d in 2011 and nearly 90 Mb/d in 2012.

Publication date:01/17/2011