Energy trader Vitol expects oil demand in 2022 to exceed pre-COVID levels

March 21 (Reuters) – Vitol sees oil demand in 2022 surpassing pre-pandemic levels of 2019, with energy prices expected to remain high for some time, the global energy trader’s chief executive said on Monday. .

“Twelve months ago, the worst horrors of COVID seemed to be over. As life in many societies began to return to normal, demand for oil rebounded, with all commodities except jet fuel experiencing strong growth,” CEO Russell Hardy said in a statement on the group’s 2021 results.

“While we expect lower oil demand over the long term, demand is expected to continue to grow over the next decade. Given limited investment in production, we expect a “demand gap” “deepens over the next few years,” he said.

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Vitol said its revenue jumped to $279 billion in 2021 from $140 billion in 2020, and it delivered 7.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) of crude oil and products the year last, compared to 7.1 mbpd in 2020.

Hardy said rising oil demand coupled with limited production growth has caused inventories to fall 2 mbpd to multi-year lows, adding that physical energy markets were already stretched before the Russian crisis. Ukrainian.

Earlier this month, oil prices rose to their highest level since 2008 as the United States and its European allies discussed a ban on Russian oil imports following the invasion of Ukraine, raising fears of tighter supply.

Gas and electricity markets experienced unprecedented volatility at the start of the European autumn and into December due to fears of shortages, triggered by an abnormally cold and late spring and the subsequent failure to rebuild European stocks over the summer, Hardy said.

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Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton

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Steve R. Hansen