COVID-19 demand update: Oil seen down 6.4%, jet fuel down 26%, road fuel down 5.5% in 2020

Source: press release, 1 April 2020

Global oil demand impact analysis COVID-19 – Effective Prevention Scenario (source: Rystad Energy research and analysis)
Global oil demand impact analysis COVID-19 – Effective Prevention Scenario (source: Rystad Energy research and analysis)

Rystad Energy is creating a weekly comprehensive report that calculates the effect of the novel coronavirus in our lives and updating estimates for global fuel markets.

As a result of recent developments, with travel restrictions, quarantine obligations and new government policies announced daily around the world, Rystad Energy is making substantial frequent updates to most of its estimates.

Global oil demand:
In another consecutive revision of weekly estimates, Rystad Energy’s newest forecast for oil demand now projects a decrease of 6.4% for 2020, or 6.4 million barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year. Estimates show that total oil demand in 2019 was approximately 99.9 million bpd, which is now projected to decline to 93.5 million bpd in 2020. To put the number into context, last week Rystad Energy projected a decrease of 4.9 million bpd.

At the moment, Rystad Energy expects the month of April to take the biggest hit, with demand for oil estimated at 77.6 million bpd, falling by 22.8 million bpd year on year, a 22.7% drop from the pre-coronavirus forecast.

This downgrade takes into account developments that have occurred up to and including Tuesday, March 31.

Road fuel demand:
Rystad Energy believes that global total demand for road fuels will fall by 5.5%, or 2.6 million bpd year-on-year, a downgrade from last week’s report, where road fuels were expected to decline by just 4.6%.

Road fuel demand in 2019 is estimated to have reached 47.7 million bpd. The consultancy now sees it reaching only about 45.1 million bpd in 2020.

Most of this reduction will also take effect in April, which will see its road fuel demand limited to just 34.7 million bpd globally, from 47.6 million bpd a year ago.

Jet fuel demand:
Among the various fuel sectors, Rystad Energy expects jet fuel to be hit the hardest and that global commercial air traffic will fall by at least 21% this year versus the levels seen in 2019. Rystad Energy estimates for 2019 stood at around 99,700 flights per day. This number will be revised as operators continue to cut routes.

Many distressed airlines are now facing heavy cost cuts, laying-off unprecedented numbers of employees as many non-essential routes are closed.

As a base case Rystad Energy now assumes that the common summer air travel peak will not occur at all this year. Rystad Energy now sees jet fuel demand falling by almost 26% year-on-year, or by at least 1.9 million bpd. Last year’s demand for jet fuel was seen at about 7.2 million bpd.

Other report findings:
The COVID-19 Report, aside from energy related projections, also includes general estimates regarding the spread and development of the pandemic globally, including forecasts regarding how the virus will evolve in the most affected countries.

Rystad Energy’s numbers will be adjusted weekly for every new dramatic step taken by governments to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The latest updated version of the report is publicly accessible.