According to a growing number of analysts, OPEC may end its oil output cut deal with Russia before December 2018. Recent developments have been unequivocally bullish, but they may have gotten to a level where they have become too bullish for OPEC, Russia, and their smaller partners in the deal.
With Brent at $70 a barrel, OPEC’s and Russia’s oil is becoming less competitive while U.S. producers continue to ramp up their own production, enjoying the discount of WTI to the international benchmark as well as to Russia’s Urals and the OPEC basket. In other words, the danger of the partners in the deal losing further market share to U.S. producers is growing.
The situation is aggravated—at least from the cartel’s perspective—by indications of stronger global oil demand as economic growth accelerates.
According to analysts including Citigroup’s Ed Morse and commodity analysts from Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank, this means that the deal could end as soon as June – an option favored by Russia since the last extension of the deal that was agreed last November.
OPEC is already working on its exit strategy and it might want to accelerate this work, so it has something ready for the June meeting of the partners in the deal, when they will discuss progress and further steps.
Not everyone agrees with this scenario, however, and a number of banks have either already upped their oil price targets for Brent…