(CTN News) – The International Energy Agency and OPEC forecast relatively strong global oil demand growth this year despite disruptions in U.S. production.
As of 1005 GMT, Brent crude futures were up 37 cents, or 0.5%, to $78.25 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures were up 55 cents, or 0.8%, to $73.11.
In its monthly report, the International Energy Agency predicted that oil demand would increase by 1.24 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2024, an increase of 180,000 bpd over its previous forecast. In the fourth quarter, the agency cited increased economic growth and lower crude oil prices.
OPEC estimated on Wednesday that demand will grow by 2.25 million barrels per day this year, unchanged from its forecast in December. Furthermore, the producer group predicted that oil demand will increase by 1.85 million barrels per day to 106.21 million barrels per day by 2025.
According to Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, oil markets will be in a “comfortable and balanced position” this year despite Middle East tensions, rising supply and a slowing growth outlook for demand.
As a result of oil’s range-bound trading in recent days, investors are shrugging off concern that tankers may be targeted in the Red Sea, according to Ehsan Khoman, an analyst at the bank MUFG.
Houthi militant attacks in the Red Sea have forced many companies to divert cargoes around Africa, adding to travel times and costs. In response to the attacks on shipping, the United States conducted another round of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Wednesday.
It is claimed that the Iran-aligned Houthis are acting in solidarity with Palestinians during the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
Two days after Iranian strikes inside Pakistani territory, Pakistan conducted strikes inside Iran, targeting Baluchi separatist militants, Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced.
North Dakota, the country’s top oil producer, reported a drop of 650,000 to 700,000 barrels per day as a result of extreme cold weather.
Data on U.S. oil inventories will be released at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (1600 GMT) on Thursday. A report citing American Petroleum Institute figures indicates that domestic crude stockpiles increased by 480,000 barrels last week.