Oil prices continue to face upward price pressure because of supply uncertainty resulting from ongoing unrest in the oil-producing regions of the Middle East and North Africa. However, there may be downward price pressure if Libya is able to ramp up oil production and exports sooner than anticipated. At the same time, downside demand risks continue as fears persist about weakening global economic growth, contagion effects of the debt crisis in the European Union, and other fiscal issues facing national governments.

Given expected rates of global oil consumption growth, the engine for which will be emerging markets outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a combination of increased oil output from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and inventory withdrawals will need to supplement non-OPEC supply growth in order for the oil market to balance at the prices projected in this Outlook.