• 5 minutes 'No - Deal Brexit' vs 'Operation Fear' Globalist Pushback ... Impact to World Economies and Oil
  • 8 minutes China has *Already* Lost the Trade War. Meantime, the U.S. Might Sanction China’s Largest Oil Company
  • 12 minutes Will Uncle Sam Step Up and Cut Production
  • 57 mins Recession Jitters Are Rising. Is There Reason To Worry?
  • 50 mins Danish Royal Palace ‘Surprised’ By Trump Canceling Trip
  • 43 mins China has invested btw $30 - $40 Billon in Canadian Oil Sands. Trump should put 10% tariffs on all Chinese oil exported into or thru U.S. in which Chinese companies have invested .
  • 7 hours US Shale Economic Impact: GDP gain realized in shale boom’s first 10 years
  • 3 hours Used Thin Film Solar Panels at 15 Cents per Watt
  • 37 mins A legitimate Request: France Wants Progress In Ukraine Before Russia Returns To G7
  • 7 hours Wonders of US Shale: US Shale Benefits: The U.S. leads global petroleum and natural gas production with record growth in 2018
  • 2 hours IS ANOTHER MIDDLE EAST WAR REQUIRED TO BOLSTER THE OIL PRICE
  • 11 hours Tit For Tat: China Strikes Back In Trade Dispute With U.S. With New Tariffs
  • 10 hours Philadelphia Energy Solutions seeks to permanently shut oil refinery - sources
  • 8 hours Iran Is Winning Big In The Middle East
  • 6 hours Strait Of Hormuz As a Breakpoint: Germany Not Taking Part In U.S. Naval Mission
  • 5 hours NATGAS, LNG, Technology, benefits etc , cleaner global energy fuel
  • 6 hours Domino Effect: Rashida Tlaib Rejects Israel's Offer For 'Humanitarian' Visit To West Bank
Alt Text

Oil Prices Slide On Surprise Crude Build

Oil prices resumed their slide…

Alt Text

U.S. To “Drown The World” In Oil

New U.S. oil production is…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is a freelance writer on oil and gas, renewable energy, climate change, energy policy and geopolitics. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

More Info

Premium Content

Is OPEC’s Mission ‘’Accomplished’’?

OPEC’s goal of draining the global inventory surplus has finally been achieved.

The International Energy Agency said in its latest Oil Market Report that the supply overhang has pretty much vanished, thanks to OPEC’s efforts at limiting production. “It is not for us to declare on behalf of the Vienna agreement countries that it is ‘mission accomplished’, but if our outlook is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it,” the Paris-based energy agency wrote.

Market fundamentals are on a similar track compared to last month’s report. The IEA kept its oil demand forecast at 1.5 million barrels per day (mb/d), although it noted that the back-and-forth on trade tariffs between the U.S. and China puts the demand outlook at risk. For example, a 1 percent decline in global GDP growth would result in a reduction in demand growth by 690,000 bpd. “Oil demand would suffer the direct impact of lower bunker consumption and lower inland transportation of traded goods, reducing fuel oil and diesel use,” the IEA said. Still, the negative effects of a trade war remain to be seen.

The supply picture also looks about the same, with growth expected to hit a soaring 1.8 mb/d this year, underpinned by a staggering 1.3 mb/d growth rate from the U.S. However, the IEA said that its supply forecast is also vulnerable to some new potential risks. The pipeline bottleneck emerging in the Permian basin could slow the rate of growth of U.S. shale supply. “[T]here is concern about bottlenecks in takeaway capacity that have seen recent discounts for WTI Midland versus Houston widen to a record at nearly $9/bbl. This issue applies in Canada as well as in the US,” the IEA said. Related: Goldman Sachs: The Bullish Case For Oil

The flip side of that is the unexpected production declines from OPEC. The IEA said that taken together, some 800,000 bpd of supply has been sidelined, dramatically bolstering the impact of the OPEC/non-OPEC cuts. “To all intents and purposes, more than a second Saudi Arabia has been added to the output agreement,” the agency wrote.

Sharp declines from Venezuela, in particular, are accentuating the agreement, helping to put OPEC’s compliance rate at 163 percent in March.

The agreement is succeeding in balancing the oil market. “With just under half of global oil supply subject to restraint and oil demand growing steadily, the impact on stocks has been substantial,” the IEA said.

Global inventories have plunged, with the surplus in the OECD falling to just 30 million barrels above the five-year average. At the same time, refined product stocks are actually below the five-year average. The IEA says that if output remains constant and the demand forecast lives up to expectations, the market could see inventories decline at a 0.6-mb/d pace for the rest of the year.

The data on inventories is not perfect. OECD numbers are published on a two-month lag, providing the market only with a retrospective look at the state of play. Also, the inventory data in the non-OECD -which, at this point accounts for the bulk of demand growth – is notoriously opaque, which makes sweeping conclusions about the oil market tricky.

With those caveats in mind, the IEA said the long-sought market “rebalancing” effort may have arrived. “With markets expected to tighten, it is possible that when we publish OECD stocks data in the next month or two they will have reached or even fallen below the five-year average target.” Related: Are Oil Markets Tightening Too Fast?

Against that backdrop, the reassertion of geopolitical uncertainty is now heavily influential. “As we write, uncertainty about the next steps in Syria and Yemen have helped propel the price of Brent crude oil back above $70/bbl.”

Even as OPEC has apparently achieved its goal of draining surplus stocks, the group seems set on keeping the cuts in place through the rest of this year. That likely means it will formulate new criteria to justify ongoing cuts. “OPEC is within rapid reach of its first announced goals and will have to come up with a new metric for the June meeting if it wants the agreement to last into the second half of the year,” Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix told Reuters.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on April 15 2018 said:
    The International Energy Agency (IEA) is not known for the accuracy of its projections or its figures. Its so-called research is politically-motivated focusing on hyping about US oil production particularly shale oil and global supply growth with the aim of depressing oil prices. That is why it has has lost all credibility.

    And while the global oil market is virtually re-balanced, I would not call OPEC’s & Russia’s mission accomplished since the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement is here to stay well into the future to prevent glut ever returning to the market.

    The majority of OPEC members need an oil price above $100 to balance their budgets. Their objective should now focus on trying to achieve the highest oil price the global oil market can tolerate. To achieve that objective, a continuation of the production cut agreement is needed well into the future.

    If the current positive oil market fundamentals continue into 2020, OPEC will certainly achieve a price of $100 or even higher to the chagrin of the IEA.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play