Oil prices are set to average slightly higher than current levels, at around $90 per barrel, from now through 2027, an annual survey of more than 1,000 energy professionals compiled by Reuters market analyst John Kemp showed.
Early on Monday, Brent Crude prices were trading at just below $85 per barrel.
The average forecasts in this year’s survey are $4 to $10 a barrel higher than the expectations in the poll from 2022 carried out before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For 2023, half of the surveyed energy professionals—of whom 22% are directly involved in oil and gas production—expect Brent Crude to average between $80 and $95 per barrel. Most of the people polled, more than 90%, see Brent averaging between $70 and $105. The average of all forecasts is $87 a barrel for this year.
Through 2027, oil prices are expected to average around $90, too, according to the survey.
The longer-term forecasts are naturally less certain due to the unknown trajectory of the global economy and oil demand over the next five years and the speed at which the decarbonization of energy systems could unfold.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many countries have pledged increased focus on renewables, which could replace some fossil fuels in power generation. But the shift in global oil trade and expected lower supply from Russia due to the Western embargoes on Russian energy, and the structural underinvestment in new oil supply over the past few years could tighten markets more than previously expected.
Major forecasters and investment banks also expect oil prices to average at least $80-90 this year and expect the OPEC+ group to step up and defend an $80-a-barrel floor under prices with a new production cut if necessary.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that Brent crude oil prices will average $83 per barrel this year and $78 a barrel in 2024, in the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) for January published last week.
“We expect that most crude oil exports from Russia will continue to find buyers. But we expect the sanctions on petroleum products will cause greater disruptions to Russia’s oil production and exports because finding alternative buyers as well as transportation and other services to reach those buyers is likely to be more challenging than for crude oil,” the EIA said.
Then, there is an expected surge in Chinese oil demand later this year, after the initial exit Covid wave fades away.
China’s oil consumption is expected to jump by 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year to a record 16 million bpd after Beijing abandoned the ‘zero Covid’ policy and reopened its borders, a median estimate of 11 China-focused consultants polled by Bloomberg News showed last week.
“Look for a particularly bullish Q2, with China adding 1.36 million b/d over the same quarter in 2022, the strongest growth in over a decade (excluding the post-Covid bounce) that will support higher prices,” Gavin Thompson, Vice Chairman, Energy – Asia Pacific, at Wood Mackenzie, said on Thursday.
Solid growth in global oil demand is set to drive oil prices to above $100 this year, and Brent Crude could trade at $105 per barrel by the fourth quarter, according to Goldman Sachs. Last month, the bank said that the Chinese reopening could lift oil prices by $15 per barrel, as China’s demand could increase by 1 million bpd on average between 2022 and 2023.
Morgan Stanley also expects tighter oil markets in the latter part of this year and sees Brent Crude prices potentially hitting $110 per barrel by the end of 2023.
“The supply ceiling is still not far away and inventories are outright low,” Morgan Stanley said in a note last week, as carried by Reuters.
Prices are likely to remain in the $80-85 range this quarter, but the Chinese reopening, the loss of Russian supply, and the end of U.S. SPR releases are set to tighten the global oil markets in the third and fourth quarters, according to Morgan Stanley. Hence, the forecast of above-$100 oil by the end of 2023.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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