As in recent years, oil demand in China and other emerging economies is expected to outpace the U.S. and Europe, leading to accelerating global consumption in 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, oil supply growth is expected to run barely ahead of global demand.
China is expected to burn about 10.36 million barrels of oil a day this year, up 5.4 percent from last year, the Energy Department said. U.S. demand will average an estimated 18.96 million barrels a day, up 0.5 percent.
The Energy Department projected global oil consumption at a record 89.38 million barrels a day in 2012, up 1.4 percent from 2011. Consumption is forecast to expand another 1.6 percent in 2013, to 90.85 million barrels a day.
Last year, the U.S. was a net exporter of liquid fuel products, including gasoline and diesel, for the first time since 1949, the Energy Department said. That partly reflects ethanol exports that were up nearly 162 percent last year, department analysts said. Gross liquid fuel exports averaged 380,000 barrels a day over gross imports.
The Energy Department said it expects the U.S. will remain a net liquid fuel exporters over the next two years.
In afternoon trading Jan. 20, crude futures for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 88 cents to $102.19 a barrel. Oil is expected to trade above $102 at least through November, based on current futures prices.