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Oil steadies after its brief recovery, helped by Opec-led output cuts

08 March 2018

Any slowdown in the global economy as a result of trade barriers would negatively impact oil demand, and could tilt the balance in favor of oversupply this year, especially if USA production keeps climbing. Rising oil prices are also encouraging shale companies to ramp up drilling.

The market has recovered mostly since the OPEC cartel partnered with Russian Federation and other producer nations to cut output in 2017.

The current market uncertainty has prompted OPEC officials to meet with CEOs of USA producers.

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Which brings me back to the IEA. Opec has realised the extent of USA oil production but appears uncertain as to what to do next. It is clearly anxious about its market sway, and formalizing its partnership with non-OPEC allies would give it broader influence. As you recall, a few years ago, OPEC members overflooded the world with crude oil to force the U.S. shale producers out of business. Obviously their scenario will not play out if OPEC increased supplies and USA shale players are unable to reduce extraction costs. Birol said Venezuela's production outlook may need to be cut in coming years as well.

The forecast comes as USA shale producers met with OPEC officials for a dinner on the sidelines of the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston Monday night.

The IEA forecasts that overall United States production gains will represent 60% of new global output to 2023. For the first few years, it downplayed the shale; in 2014, with the market oversupplied, it opened the spigots, sending oil prices to below $30 a barrel in a war for market share.

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The U.S. Energy Informational Administration released its short-term forecast Tuesday, forecasting Brent spot prices will average about $62 barrel in 2018 and 2019 compared with an average of $54 per barrel in 2017. Citing the production capabilities of drillers operating in USA shale fields, the world capacity to produce oil will hit 107 million barrels a day.

Capitalizing on rising volatility, we advocate long in a December 2018 WTI $68-75/bbl call spread (net premium: $1.40/bbl). But it isn't just EVs - abundant oil and cheap natural gas are fueling a surge in petrochemical investments.

Barkindo, who in the past lamented the unrestrained nature of United States shale output spikes, was set to have a "dialogue" with executives from shale operators on the evening of 5 March. "This is potentially storing up trouble for the future", the IEA wrote in its report. The energy agency, which advises energy-consuming countries, said Monday that global energy demand will grow about 7 percent by 2023, to 104.7 million barrels of oil per day. "But as we've highlighted repeatedly, the weak global investment picture remains a source of concern".

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The Asia-Pacific region is seen accounting for roughly 60% of global oil product demand growth over the next five years.