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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: April 6, 2021  |  Forecast Completed: April 1, 2021  |  Next Release Date: May 11, 2021  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Global liquid fuels

  • Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $65 per barrel (b) in March, up $3/b from February and up $33/b from March 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Rising Brent prices in March continued to reflect expectations of rising oil demand as both COVID-19 vaccination rates and global economic activity have increased, combined with ongoing crude oil production limits from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+). EIA forecasts that Brent prices will average $65/b in the second quarter of 2021, $61/b during the second half of 2021, and $60/b in 2022.
  • EIA expects global oil inventories to fall by 1.8 million b/d in the first half of 2021. Forecast increases in global oil supply will contribute to a mostly balanced market during the second half of 2021. However, the forecast depends heavily on future production decisions by OPEC+, the responsiveness of U.S. tight oil production to oil prices, and the pace of oil demand growth, among other factors.
  • EIA expects OPEC crude oil production will rise from an average of 25.1 million b/d in the first quarter of 2021 to 25.8 million b/d in the second quarter. The increase is the result of the April 1 OPEC+ announcement to begin raising production targets in May. It also reflects Saudi Arabia unwinding voluntary cuts of 1.0 million b/d between May and July. We expect OPEC crude oil production will rise to almost 27.9 million b/d in the second half of 2021.
  • EIA estimates that the world consumed 96.0 million b/d of petroleum and liquid fuels in March, an increase of 4.7 million b/d from March 2020. We forecast that global consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels will average 97.7 million b/d for all of 2021, which is up by 5.5 million b/d from 2020. We forecast that consumption will increase by 3.7 million b/d in 2022 to average 101.3 million b/d. We revised growth in global liquid fuels consumption in 2021 higher from last STEO. The higher forecast is primarily a result of higher global GDP growth forecasts from Oxford Economics, which increased 0.4 percentage points from the March STEO to 6.2% for 2021.
  • According to EIA’s most recent data, U.S. domestic crude oil production averaged 11.1 million b/d in January 2021. We estimate that U.S. domestic crude oil production declined by 0.8 million b/d in February, mostly because of cold temperatures that affected much of the country, particularly Texas. We forecast crude oil production will average 10.9 million b/d in the second quarter of 2021 and increase to almost 11.4 million b/d by the fourth quarter of 2021. We expect U.S. crude oil production will average 11.9 million b/d in 2022. The forecast of rising U.S. crude oil production is the result of our expectation that West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices will remain above $55/b through the forecast period.

World liquid fuels production and consumption balance

World liquid fuels consumption

World liquid fuelds consumption growth

World liquid fuels production and consumption

World crude oil and liquid fuels production

OPEC surplus crude oil production capacity

OECD commercial stocks of crude oil and other liquids (days of supply)

Global Petroleum and Other Liquids
  2019202020212022
aForeign currency per U.S. dollar.
Supply & Consumption (million barrels per day)
Non-OPEC Production 66.0163.6764.8567.78
OPEC Production 34.6230.5731.8333.34
OPEC Crude Oil Portion 29.2725.5926.6728.03
Total World Production 100.6494.2496.68101.12
OECD Commercial Inventory (end-of-year) 2,8793,0262,8772,876
Total OPEC surplus crude oil production capacity 2.526.206.494.77
OECD Consumption 47.5441.9144.3345.81
Non-OECD Consumption 53.6550.2553.3455.51
Total World Consumption 101.1992.1797.67101.32
Primary Assumptions (percent change from prior year)
World Real Gross Domestic Product 2.8-3.56.24.5
Real U.S. Dollar Exchange Ratea 2.10.6-2.3-0.7

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Related Figures
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price XLSX PNG
World liquid fuels production and consumption balance XLSX PNG
Estimated unplanned crude oil production outages among OPEC and non-OPEC producers XLSX PNG
World liquid fuels consumption XLSX PNG
World liquid fuels consumption growth XLSX PNG
World crude oil and liquid fuels production XLSX PNG
World liquid fuels production and consumption XLSX PNG
OPEC surplus crude oil production capacity XLSX PNG
OECD commercial stocks of crude oil and other liquids (days of supply) XLSX PNG
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