IEA says oil market outlook clouded by vaccine roll-out

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    LONDON- Oil producers face an unprecedented challenge to balance supply and demand as factors including the pace and response to COVID-19 vaccines cloud the outlook, an official with International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

    “Producers are grappling with huge uncertainty about where this goes from here,” Tim Gould, head of energy supply outlooks and investment, told the Gulf Intelligence forum.

    “That’s not just in terms of economic recovery but indicators we wouldn’t necessarily normally be looking at: (such as the) levels of trust in different countries about vaccines.”

    OPEC and allied countries such as Russia agreed this month to cut crude production through March in a bid to match abundant supply with demand which has sagged amid surging virus cases while vaccination programs get underway.

    While the pandemic has prompted some energy majors and watchdogs to predict that a peak in the world’s demand for oil has been brought nearer or may have already come and gone in 2019, Gould said the IEA disagreed.