• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 3 hours How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 9 days What fool thought this was a good idea...
  • 12 days Why does this keep coming up? (The Renewable Energy Land Rush Could Threaten Food Security)
  • 7 days A question...
  • 12 days They pay YOU to TAKE Natural Gas
  • 18 days The United States produced more crude oil than any nation, at any time.
Why the IEA is Wrong About Peak Oil Demand

Why the IEA is Wrong About Peak Oil Demand

The International Energy Agency (IEA)…

Two Sectors Driving the Future of Oil Demand

Two Sectors Driving the Future of Oil Demand

Oil demand is expected to…

Olgu Okumus

Olgu Okumus

Dr. Olgu Okumus focuses her research on energy politics and local energy transition. She can be reached at olgu.okumus@sciencespo.fr. On Twitter: @OlguOkumus

More Info

Premium Content

Will This Cause An Oil Price Reversal?

shale drillers

Last Friday, oil prices surpassed $70 per barrel. With OPEC’s decision to reduce oil production, oil prices continue their rise. While Iran’s oil minister stated in early January that OPEC has no interest in prices jumping over $60 per barrel, no major changes have yet come from OPEC, and market players continue to wonder what can cause the price rise to reverse.

Some analysis, built on conventional market principles, sees the cause of this tension as ongoing conflict in the Middle East — these analysts now await a strong reaction from Russia to change trends. However, as the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes, the explanation may be more unconventional…

Since oil prices surpassed $70 per barrel on Friday, much international analysis narrows the cause to tensions in the Middle East — or more precisely, Iraq’s decision to join OPEC’s agreement to rein in output and ongoing conflict. Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi, Iraq’s oil minister, announced his country’s decision to join OPEC’s agreement with other suppliers to rein in output until the end of 2018. “The deal should continue,” he said. “The market now is stabilizing somehow, but it’s not yet stable.”

Despite Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh previously stating that “members of OPEC are not keen on increased brent crude prices above $60 a barrel because of shale oil," so far no immediate policy shift came from OPEC on Friday before markets closed. Many analysts, putting the Middle East at the heart of the cause, also projected that tension and the Afrin operation might push prices up to $80 per barrel.

Thus, raising questions about the foundation of this analysis is now important. Do we need to fear? If so, who or what can stop this price hike? Answers vary upon how seriously the shale revolution is taken, as seen in two expert interviews with Bloomberg this week. Related: The World’s Most Innovative Gas Field

Ed Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodities research, told Bloomberg he doesn’t know how OPEC will react, but he seemed confident regarding Russia’s reaction. He expects Russia to call for a pause in the agreement during OPEC’s summer meeting, as rising oil prices are endangering the ruble, and the Russian Central Bank is already considering an intervention.

However, the IEA’s 2017 World Energy Outlook projected that China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest oil consumer around 2030, as well as predicting the U.S. shale revolution will turn the country toward export, making the U.S. a net oil exporter by 2020. That said, the IEA estimates prices for oil will remain in the $50–70/barrel range — suggesting that, even if the U.S. does become an energy exporter (as predicted), this will not be a game-changer for the U.S. economy.

Based on that projection, in his Bloomberg interview, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol drew attention to the fact that OPEC’s decisions today have a different nature than they did before the shale revolution. This is the new game in town, he noted.

Indeed, Birol’s comment is clear. Growing U.S. shale production will push down oil prices over the long term. The countries who did not see this happening, such as Russia, now face severe economic challenges. The time of blaming Middle East conflicts for oil price fluctuations or passively expecting a Russian reaction seems to be ending, and it’s time to begin replacing traditional energy analyses with unconventional ones.

It looks like the shale revolution — not Russian intervention or OPEC strategy — will be what ultimately causes prices to reverse.


By Olgu Okumus for Oilprice.com

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on January 23 2018 said:
    An emphatic NO. The speedy rise in oil prices since early December 2017 was overwhelmingly motivated by positive oil market fundamentals particularly rising global demand for oil and the fact that the market is approaching re-balancing. This time geopolitical considerations played a very minor role in the oil price surge.

    Despite claims to the contrary, OPEC members need an oil price higher than $100 a barrel to repair the damage that low oil prices during 2014-2016 inflicted on their economies and to balance their budgets.

    The OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement will continue beyond 2018 but it may undergo some amendment to reflect new realities in the market such as rising oil prices and the re-balancing of the market. They may decide to adjust the size of the production cuts according to market conditions.

    As the world’s largest oil producers and exporters, Russia and Saudi Arabia are keen to continue their cooperation well into the future for geopolitical reasons and also for the stability of oil prices and the oil market.

    And while US shale oil will contribute an estimated 4.8 mbd to non-OPEC supply in the 2016-2022 period, the global demand for oil during the same period is projected to grow by 6.7 mbd. So while shale oil will have some influence on prices, it will not be able to cause a reversal of oil them.

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

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News