TEHRAN, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Oil demand could increase by more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day as the global economy moves out of recession, Iranian oil officials said.
Mohammad Ali Khatibi, the Iranian governor to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said the optimistic signs in the economy pointed to a rise in global oil demand, the semiofficial Mehr news agency reports.
"Considering the relative recovery of the global economy, it is expected that oil demand in the year 2010 will be increased between 500,000 and 1 million barrels," he said.
He predicted oil prices would remain bullish as global oil producers are reluctant to sell off their stocks in anticipation of growing demand.
Oil touched 10-month highs in recent trading, inching above $70 per barrel. Khatibi said optimism in the economy might push oil prices beyond $80 per barrel by January.
OPEC starting in September 2008 slashed its output by 4.2 million bpd in an effort to control plummeting oil prices, which gave up more than $100 per barrel from July highs to below $50 at the end of 2008.
OPEC is set to consider its production quota at its next regular meeting in September.