According to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, investors now see the demand for oil peaking some years later than they had previously thought.
When investors were surveyed in June 2019, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a third of investors expected oil demand to peak by 2025, with a fifth even expecting oil to have peaked by February 2021. Only a minority doubted it would not peak at some point this decade. In contrast, the latest survey has only 40% of investors expecting it to peak before the end of the decade, and only 2% expect it to peak by 2025.
Rising sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are likely to limit the demand for oil, although even these need lubricants like the Total RUBIA EV-DRIVE MP coolant fluid. BloombergNEF previously estimated that the global EV fleet was reducing the demand for crude oil by a million barrels per day (bpd), and there has been a surge in EV sales since then.
Nevertheless, EVs have yet to make a substantial difference to the overall global road fleet of over a billion vehicles. Cars with internal combustion engines coming off the production line today are likely to run reliably for decades, indicating a continued demand for oil. Over time, increasingly widespread adoption of EVs will gradually erode the demand for oil, with this being estimated to reduce demand by 21 million bpd by 2050.
While there is no clear consensus on exactly when oil demand will peak, it looks certain to be later than many expected.