The price of oil continues to rise, driven by both temporary and medium to long-term factors. Today, a cyclical decline in American inventories has pushed the WTI barrel (which is the reference in the United States) above 81 dollars, even if at the end of trading the price was around 78.39, in any case up by 1 , 82 percentage points. For Brent (which is the reference in Europe), it closed at 81.29 dollars a barrel, up 1.61%.
Oil therefore continues to recover positions, even if it does so slowly, without the tears that other raw materials or another hydrocarbon such as methane have undergone. Why this greater stability of crude oil? Because its market is controlled by the action of the Opec cartel of producers, recently strengthened as Opec + thanks to the agreement with Russia and some other large producers.
Yesterday, an OPEC report estimated the average world demand for oil in 2021 at 96.6 million barrels per day, and demand for 100.8 million barrels per day in 2022, which will return to the pre-Covid level of the 2019; the new year’s estimate is 200,000 barrels a day higher than that previously made by the OPEC research office. The increase in demand in 2022 induces a further element of upward pressure on prices.
The OPEC estimates already take into account some uncertainty induced in the world economic recovery by the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus; without this factor, world crude oil consumption would have returned to above 100 million barrels per day by the end of 2021.