Oil prices could plunge to US$30 a barrel in 2018 and maintain that low price for some two years, if OPEC fails to make steeper output cuts, Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of oil and gas consultancy FGE, said at a conference on Monday.
The current OPEC cuts could be enough to keep the price of oil at around US$50 per barrel for the rest of this year, Fesharaki said at the International Association for Energy Economics conference in Singapore, as quoted by Platts.
But next year, new supply is expected to overtake demand growth if OPEC doesn’t deepen the production cuts. This would send oil prices lower, according to Fesharaki.
Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that non-OPEC production in 2018 would increase by 1.5 million barrels daily – a rate that would surpass the growth of global demand.
Speaking at the Singapore conference on Monday, FGE’s Fesharaki said that the key question for the oil market was whether U.S. shale production had a limit. If there is a limit, OPEC’s cuts might work, but if there isn’t a limit, or if shale output in Argentina surges, OPEC’s strategy with the cuts would fail, Platts quoted Fesharaki as saying.
In 2018, the surplus is expected to grow, due to higher production in U.S. shale, Nigeria, Libya, and Kazakhstan, according Fesharaki. Russia, on the other hand, would be a wild card, because upstream investments are expected to increase there, he noted.
Within OPEC, it’s only Saudi Arabia that has the capacity to cut deeper, and it would be up to them to decide, according to Fesharaki.
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“If Saudi Arabia believes there is a limit to US production, they will cut... critical decisions will have to be taken [by Riyadh] in the middle of next year or towards the end of next year,” Platts quoted Fesharaki as saying.
Despite the fact that OPEC and non-OPEC partners rolled over the cuts into March 2018, the oil market wasn’t enthusiastic about the extension as-is, and oil prices have dropped some 13 percent since the cuts were extended.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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