The demand for oil, globally, is expected to slow down in 2012.
The 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that world oil consumption would rise by 1.32 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2012, lower than the growth of 1.36 million bpd expected in 2011.
The likely drop in oil demand is due to a weak global economy and sharp downturn in consumption in Europe, OPEC said in its first forecast for the next year.
Oil prices may stabilize however owing to lingering supply shortfall of more than 1 million bpd between the anticipated demand for OPEC crude and the amount pumped by OPEC, although increased output from Saudi Arabia is bridging the gap.
The demand outlook was subject to much uncertainty and could contract further depending on factors such as the speed of Japan's recovery from this year's nuclear disaster and tsunami, as well as on the impact of oil prices on developed economies, OPEC said.