The Energy Information Administration (EIA) lowered its world oil consumption growth forecast by about 50,000 barrels per day from its previous estimate.
The agency also cut its projection for 2011 global oil demand growth by 150,000 bpd.
The agency forecast the world will burn 89.62 million bpd in 2012, down 220,000 bpd from its previous forecast, and 88.23 million bpd this year, down 170,000 bpd from its previous forecast.
“The forecast hasn’t significantly changed,” Tancred Lidderdale, an analyst at the EIA, told Reuters. “The uncertainties on demand are still the same – what’s going on with the economy and what the contagion effects of what’s going on in Europe might be.”
EU finance ministers are struggling to shore up sagging banks and avert a credit squeeze amid the euro zone debt crisis.
China and other emerging economies account for all of the projected crude oil consumption growth through 2012, the EIA said in its short-term energy outlook, the first of three major international oil-supply reports this month.
Consumption in OECD countries is projected to decline by 400,000 bpd in 2011 and remain mostly flat in 2012 as the economy struggles, the EIA said, according to Reuters.
In terms of supply, crude production from Opec is expected to be mostly flat this year and slip slightly next year.
The EIA forecast 2012 Opec production will be 29.76 million bpd, down 250,000 bpd from previously forecast, and 2011 output will be 29.72 million bpd, practically unchanged.
The EIA expects crude exports from Libya, which resumed at the end of September, to rise to 350,000 bpd during the first quarter of 2012, and to 800,000 bpd by the end of the year.
That compares with exports of 1.5 million bpd before they were disrupted by the uprising.
Non-Opec supply should rise both this year and next, the EIA said.
The EIA raised the 2012 forecast by 17,000 bpd to 53.28 million bpd as Canada, China, the US and other countries outside of the production group boost output.
It raised its 2011 non-Opec output forecast by 18,000 bpd to 52.45 million bpd.