Oil services company Baker Hughes sees energy demand recover in the second half of 2021, managing director Lorenzo Simonelli said this week.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” he told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Monday.

He noted that some countries are still linked to coronavirus, which decimated demand in 2020 and may weigh on fuel sales in the first half of the year.

However, he expects demand to recover in the second half of the year due to the launch of the vaccine and the improvement in the economic situation.

The CEO’s views were in line with OPEC’s January oil market report that vaccinations generate some “upside optimism” and that forecasts for 2021 “assume a healthy recovery in economic activity”.

The alliance expects global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day to an average of 95.9 million barrels per day.

The International Energy Agency predicts that global oil demand will recover this year to 96.6 million bdp. It lowered its forecast slightly, citing rising Covid cases and new bans.

As vaccines put fundamentals on a stronger growth path, it will take longer for demand to fully recover, the IEA said.

Opportunities in oil investments

Simonelli said there would be “investment opportunities” when the rebound takes place.

“It will be different geographically in different places,” he said. “If we look at the lower-cost pools, look at the Middle East. That is where you will see some of the increases in production.”

Brazil and Norway could also increase production in the second half of 2021, he added.

US shale producers are likely to be “subdued,” he said. “There is a lot of capital discipline [and] Obviously we are also going through an energy transition. “

He said North America would grow in volume quickly historically, but that could change this time around.

“We believe this will be different just given the capital discipline and focus that producers have on … returns and cash flows and restricting some of the capital inflows,” he said.

US West Texas Intermediate Futures rose 0.99% to $ 54.08 on Tuesday afternoon in Asia, while the international benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose 0.89% to trade at $ 56.85.

– CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.