The coronavirus outbreak will cut growth in global oil demand by a quarter this year compared to earlier forecasts, Norway's biggest independent energy consultancy Rystad Energy predicted on Feb. 11.

Oslo-based Rystad now predicts global oil demand will grow by 820,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2020, down from a December forecast of 1.1 million bbl/d.

Crude prices have fallen sharply since news of the virus outbreak first emerged in mid-January.

The outbreak will primarily affect demand in the early part of the year, with the first quarter now expected to see growth of just 100,000 bbl/d, before consumption recovers later in the year, Rystad argued in a research note.

"Our current assessment implies that the impact of coronavirus will persist throughout all of February and March and will then gradually subside towards June," it added.

In a worst-case scenario, however, if travel restrictions last longer, the overall impact for the year could be to lower 2020 demand growth to 650,000 bbl/d, the consultancy said.