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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

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Analysts See WTI Averaging $56 In 2018

Expectations of robust oil demand growth and high OPEC and allies’ commitment to the production cuts have prompted analysts to raise again their forecast for oil prices in 2018, and they now see WTI averaging $55.78 per barrel next year.

According to a Reuters poll of 32 analysts and economists on Thursday, WTI is expected to trade at an average $55.78 a barrel in 2018, compared to the previous forecast of $54.78 a barrel in the survey carried out right after OPEC and the non-OPEC producers part of deal extended their agreement through the end of 2018. Back then, analysts cited the extension as a sign that the oil market rebalancing could speed up.

In today’s poll, the experts surveyed by Reuters also raised their average forecast for Brent to $59.88 per barrel next year, up from the previous projection of $58.84 a barrel.

At 07:16 am CST on Thursday, WTI Crude was up 0.05 percent at $59.67 and Brent Crude was down 0.08 percent at $65.94.

Analysts see solid global economic growth supporting high oil demand in 2018, while expectations of strong OPEC and friends’ commitment to the cuts are forecast to support oil prices next year as supply will be relatively tight.

Increased supply from U.S. shale, however, will cap significant oil price gains next year, but concerns over an abrupt supply glut have somewhat abated.

“We see U.S. supply continuing to grow next year but are less concerned about a sudden supply glut re-emerging as rising D&C [drilling and completion] costs will likely slow production growth,” Ashley Petersen at Stratas Advisors told Reuters.

Also on the supply side, outages in Libya and Nigeria, as well as potential new sanctions on Iran, could also tighten the market and lend support to oil prices in 2018, the analysts polled by Reuters say.

Earlier this week, an explosion at a crude oil pipeline feeding Libya’s biggest oil export terminal sent WTI briefly breaking above $60 per barrel on concerns over yet another sudden supply disruption, just as the operator of the Forties Pipeline in the North Sea, Ineos, said on Thursday that it expected to bring the pipeline progressively back to normal rates around new year.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • John McManus on December 31 2017 said:
    Just a comment on the forecast of the 32 expert analysts and economists who gave a forecast of $55.78 p/b for 2018 WTI and $59.88 p/b for Brent. They really put themselves out on a limb with such an aggressive forecast, HA HA. WTI futures in the real market are trading between $60.10 p/b in February 2018 to December at $57.86 for WTI . Brent is at $66.16 p/b for February and $63.25 p/b for December.

    If these 32 experts had just used the current futures market for their forecast they would be a lot closer to what actual oil prices will be in 2018. I hope you follow up with actual results versus their forecast periodically during 2018 so we can all see how the "expert 32" did for 2018.

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