Worldwide demand for oil will increase 1.4% this year as developed economies strengthen, building off a strong final three months of 2013, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
The projections in the organization's monthly oil market report add to forecasts of a global economic pickup in 2014.
Unexpectedly higher demand in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of last year helped boost global oil deliveries by 135,000 barrels a day to an estimated 92.1 million barrels, the report said.
The increase meant that, after declining 1.1% in 2012, oil demand grew 0.2% last year in the 34 advanced economies that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The last time the OECD nations had recorded a yearly increase in oil demand was 2010, the agency said.
"Global oil demand growth appears to have gradually gained momentum in the last 18 months, driven by economic recovery in the developed world," the report said.
The growth will continue into 2014, with demand expected to increase to 92.5 million barrels a day.
The U.S. helped meet that demand with a surge in 2013 oil production "exceeding even the boldest of expectations by a wide margin," the report said.
U.S. crude oil output grew 15% last year, the biggest annual surge for any country in two decades.
The increase raises the specter of what the IEA called the "crude wall" -- a point when laws limiting exports of crude oil to nations other than Canada would limit the ability of the U.S. to help meet global demand.
"Given such steep growth, the ‘wall’ arguably looms larger than ever,' the agency said. .
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