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Global oil demand - an inexact science

Should you bet the house - or your company's drilling programme - on long-term forecasts for oil demand?

Forecasting long-term oil demand, never easy, is getting harder. Opec's latest games with the oil price, Trump's election in the US, Brexit, new battery developments: politics and surprises can play havoc with the models. In December, the International Energy Agency (IEA) tweaked its shorter-term forecasts to reflect stronger than expected oil demand in China and Russia. Global oil consumption will have risen in 2016 by 1.4m barrels a day, or 120,000 b/d more than previously thought, and in 2017 demand will rise by 1.3m b/d, or 110,000 b/d more than its earlier projection. Such adjustments are a regular feature of the IEA's market outlook. If the world's leading energy-market forecaster ne

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