Global demand for energy wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic is “without precedent,” with March oil consumption alone plummeting by a record 10.8 million barrels a day, according to an International Energy Agency analysis of the past 100 days of the pandemic.
Total energy demand declined by 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, and IEA director Fatih Birol expects oil to take “months, maybe years” to return to prepandemic levels.
While the world will “still need oil in years to come,” Dr. Birol told The Globe and Mail from Paris on Wednesday that the extreme economic and demand shock caused by the pandemic will likely plunge consumption of crude this year to 2012 levels.
Countries in full lockdown have seen their weekly energy demand fall by about a quarter, and those in partial lockdown by an average of 18 per cent. Total global oil demand in 2020 is expected to fall by about nine million barrels a day.
Dr. Birol said that will have “major implications” for his agency’s future global oil demand projections.
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