Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, has predicted that global oil demand could fall by 9-10 million barrels per day (mmbbl/d) this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Reuters.

This prediction is in line with last month’s forecast by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which forecasted world oil demand to tumble by 9.06 mmbbl/d in 2020.

Novak, speaking at an online conference, also predicted that oil prices could potentially rise to around $65 per barrel next year, however not without market volatility.  

He said, “I have a rather more modest forecast, comparing to Goldman Sachs, for 2021. In my opinion, again, speaking about the average price per year, we could be in a corridor of $50 to $55 per barrel. But the volatility might be there.” 

Brent crude is currently trading around $44 per barrel.

Oil demand has been hit by the pandemic, with forced lockdowns across the globe and a steep decline in fuel consumption.