IEA warns over growing demand

Global demand for oil is set to accelerate in 2012, ramping up pressure on prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned yesterday.

Demand will rise by 1.47 million barrels per day (bpd) to 91 million bpd next year, the IEA said, contradicting Opec oil producers' cartel forecasts of slowing growth.

The IEA released 60 million barrels of oil from stockpiles last month to offset the reduction of supply from Libya because of recent political uprisings.

Critics claim the move has had a barely noticeable impact, with the oil price now back up to pre-release levels, despite sluggish economic data from China and the US. But the IEA yesterday defended the move and implied it may be repeated if deemed necessary.

The IEA also revealed that Saudi Arabia raised production by 700,000 barrels per day to 9.7 million bpd last month, despite the fact that Opec – to which it belongs – vetoed a call to raise production to help soften prices.