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OPEC predicts rivals' supply to contract in 2016

The supply of oil from countries outside of the OPEC will contract next year as world oil demand rises, the production cartel said in its latest monthly report.

Indicating that the 12-country oil producing group led by Saudi Arabia could be winning the fight to retain market share in the face of its rivals outside the organization, the group said that non-OPEC oil supply growth was expected to be "much lower" in 2015 and 2016 after "the tremendous growth of 2.23 million barrels a day achieved in 2014."

While non-OPEC oil supply was estimated to grow by 1.00 mb/d in 2015 to average 57.51 mb/d, it forecast a contraction in non-OPEC oil supply in 2016.

"For 2016, non-OPEC oil supply is now expected to contract by 380,000 barrels a day to average 57.14 mb/d, following a downward revision of 0.25 mb/d," from last month's report.

Just as the supply from non-members was forecast to dwindle, OPEC raised its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2015, predicting it will rise by 1.53 million barrels per day (mb/d) to average around 92.88 mb/d – up 30,000 barrels from the previous month's forecast – and for 2016.

The organization predicted oil demand would increase by around 1.25 mb/d to average 94.14 million barrels a day next year, upping its forecast mainly as a result of "better-than-expected consumption in Europe and Other Asia," an area including India, Indonesia and Thailand among other Asian economies but not China.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

OPEC signaled it would be ready to mop up an increase in demand as it continued to pump above its official ceiling of 30 million barrels per day in November.

"In November, OPEC production according to secondary sources rose by 230,000 b/d from the previous month to average 31.70 mb/d," the group noted.

Don't mention the war

While some OPEC members might be happy to see non-members' production dwindle elsewhere, there are problems closer to home with growing acrimony within the group itself.

Emerging from years of international sanctions on its oil exports, Iran is keen for its production to get back into full swing and has refused to cut production, even if Saudi Arabia was willing to do so too. Poorer OPEC members such as Venezuela have repeatedly asked the group to cut production to support prices but those calls have fallen on deaf ears.

The report comes hot on the heels of OPEC's decision last Friday not to cut production in an effort to support plummeting oil prices, a decision taken amid tensions between dominant members of the group.

Up until the meeting, there had been hopes that Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the group, might be ready to make a formal proposal for output cuts – as long as non-OPEC producers did the same.

However, those hopes were dashed when some OPEC and non-OPEC members alike refused to do so. Instead, the group could not agree on an oil production ceiling last week after a disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran over whether to cut output and support prices; effectively meaning that its current daily output of 30 mb/d will be maintained.

Saudi Arabia has often exceeded this level in recent months despite a glut in global oil supply which has seen prices tumble from last June, from $114 a barrel to around $40 for benchmark Brent crude today. U.S. crude is faring worse, trading at $37.45 a barrel Thursday.

This week oil prices have been in focus for markets following OPEC's decision with oil prices having plummeted further, hitting a 7-year low earlier this week and exacerbating declines across the commodity sector.

The decision not to cut is largely seen as a way for the group to maintain market share in the face of rivalry from U.S. shale oil producers who have higher-cost production and thus cannot cope as well with low oil prices. The strategy appears to have worked with many U.S. producers closing rigs on a continuing basis, canceling projects and lowering production.

OPEC predicted further cuts in the U.S. shale industry in 2016, showing that the group's strategy to retain its estimated 40 percent market share is continuing to bear fruit.

"Persistently low oil price levels in 2015 have caused the U.S. shale oil sector to shrink," OPEC noted. "Shale drillers in the U.S. have slashed spending and cut the number of workers this year as prices have fallen. U.S. tight oil production – the main driver of non-OPEC supply growth – has been declining since April 2015. This downward trend should accelerate in coming months, given various factors, mainly low oil prices and lower drilling activities."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt.