Oil demand may never recover from COVID-19 crisis, says Shell CEO

FILE PHOTO: Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Global oil demand might never return to levels seen before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said on Thursday.

“Demand will take a long time to recover if it recovers at all,” van Beurden told reporters after the Anglo-Dutch energy company reported a sharp drop in second-quarter profit.

Shell expects aviation fuel consumption to recover to 50% of pre-crisis levels by the end of 2020, he said.

“The aviation sector is down and will remain down for some time to come.”

Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely