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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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World's Largest Oil Trader Sees Oil Topping $80 By Year-End

Oil rig

Crude oil prices could rise to $80 per barrel by the end of this year and even top it, Vitol Group’s chief executive Russell Hardy told Bloomberg in an interview.

According to Hardy, the gas supply crunch will spur demand for alternatives, lifting crude oil demand up by an additional half a million barrels daily in the fourth quarter. This, in turn, could motivate a higher supply increase on the part of OPEC+, the executive also said.

“Can demand surprise us to the upside because of power switching? Yes,” Vitol’s CEO said. “Is it likely that there’s half a million barrels a day of extra demand that comes through because of gas pricing? Probably our view is, that is likely across winter.”

“All people are worried about is that we’re missing pieces of stock which we normally have,” he also told Bloomberg. “During the winter, demand for gas is massively higher than demand for gas during the summer. You have to store, there’s no two ways around it.”

Yet now that Europe’s stored gas appears to be short while demand remains high, a switch to another fuel is the most logical path as solar and wind fall short of demand due to the weather.

Hardy’s comments come on the heels of another couple of bullish predictions for the price of oil. Goldman Sachs yesterday said that Brent crude could reach $90 per barrel this winter if it turns out to be a cold rather than a mild one. If it is a cold one, it could lead to 900,000 bpd in additional crude demand, Goldman’s head of commodities, Jeffrey Currie, said.

According to Vitol peer Trafigura, furthermore, oil is set to continue rising next year as well. The chief economist of the commodity trading major said that Brent could jump to $100 by the end of 2022, driven by the continued recovery in global demand.

“Not just the price, but the level of backwardation we are seeing is telling us the market is hungry for oil,” Saad Rahim said during the virtual Argus Asia-Pacific Crude Forum on Thursday.

Oil demand worldwide has recovered enough from the coronavirus and the variants this year to put the oil market in a “much healthier place,” Rahim said.  

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 24 2021 said:
    The Vitol Group hasn’t said anything new about the trajectory of oil prices. With the global economy growing at 6.3% this year or double its growth rate in 2019 and China’s at 8.44% and with billions of vaccines available around the globe, crude oil prices have one way to go with Brent crude expected to touch $80 a barrel any time now and even go much higher if the world encounters a very cold winter.

    Naturally the soaring natural gas and LNG prices are providing an added upward push to oil prices.

    However, a long-term bullish support for oil prices is emerging from a different direction, namely the excessive pressure on the global oil and gas industry to divest of its oil and gas assets. Unfortunately, divestment adversely affects production of oil and gas without undermining the global demand for them thus creating deficits in the market and skyrocketing prices.

    This means that Brent crude could even rise to $100 during 2022.

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

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