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Aramco Says Oil Demand is Nearing Pre-COVID Levels

Aramco Says Oil Demand is Nearing Pre-COVID Levels

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022 - 10:30
A view shows branded oil tanks at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi Aramco said oil demand is nearing pre-COVID levels and reiterated that producers globally are investing too little in supply.

"We are getting very close to pre-pandemic levels," CEO Amin Nasser according to Bloomberg. "We continue to see healthy demand in the future,” he added.”

After the outbreak of the COVID-19, consumption of crude declined from around 100 million barrels a day in early 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic spread, shutting down factories and triggering mass lockdowns.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises rich countries, said it was back to almost 98 million barrels daily as of September.

Oil prices have surged 13 percent this year to more than $85 a barrel as demand continues to recover.

Nasser indicated that there is no sign yet that rising prices are causing consumers to cut back on oil.

Gulf countries are among the few still spending billions of dollars on increasing their output. Saudi Arabia plans to raise its daily crude-production capacity to 13 million barrels from 12 million by 2027.

Nasser also said Aramco would continue to look at asset sales regardless of oil price.

The company accelerated plans to divest some non-core assets when crude crashed with the onset of the virus.

Last year, Aramco sold stakes in its oil and natural gas pipelines to investors, including BlackRock Inc., for around $28 billion.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell about two percent on Monday, amid concerns of Omicron variant, tensions in Ukraine after Russia massing troops near its borders, and increased tensions in the Middle East.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch told Reuters that further escalation of the situation in both Ukraine and the Middle East "justify a risk premium on the oil price because the countries involved, Russia and the UAE, are important members of OPEC+."

Government officials are concerned that Russia will restrict its provision of gas to European countries in the face of Western sanctions amid concerns of a potential conflict in Eastern Europe should an invasion of Ukraine take place.

Europe relies on Russia for around 35 percent of its natural gas.

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