Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Oil Price: Noone Really Knows What's Going On; Russia economic growth usa oil oversupply opec report

Just two months ago, the World Bank estimated in its commodity forecast report that the price of crude oil will average $51.4 per barrel in 2016, virtually unchanged from the average price last year ($52.5), but since then oil has fallen all the way down to $30 with no bottom in sight.

oil price, russia economy, oil, petroleum, natural gas, price forecast, index, middle east economy, oil companies, oil production, peak oil, arab league, economy, usa shale, north dakota shale, oil exploration, light crude, heavy oil, economic growth, growth in africa, african oil demand, population growth, opec, world bank report, oil oversupply
Just this month the price reached an 11 year low for the third session in a row ($36), despite positive news regarding US supply (stockpile down -5.8m barrels vs +1.1m estimate). The price was as high as $110 as recently as 2014 but $30 oil was not uncommon in the 1990's and early 2000's.

Now Opec which represents a third of the world's oil output, is coming out and saying that improved overall demand will lead to a recovery in the price ($70 by 2020).

And Russia - the world's second largest producer - is saying it doesn't expect oil prices to recover beyond $30 in 2016 which says a lot coming from a nation that loses $2 billion in revenues for every dollar decline.

My opinion - Oil prices will swing wildly in both directions in the upcoming years so prepare accordingly.  However peak oil is not the issue.
this opinion is based on

  • The USA oil oversupply cannot continue especially at current prices - most oil production increases in the US are attributable to North Dakota shale exploration the pace of which cannot continue at current prices.
  • New Canadian pipelines (Energy East Pipeline will allow Canada to fully utilize refinery capacity in New Brunswick / Northern Gateway Pipeline / others) will permanently lower glut of supply in US North Western PADD regions).
  • Higher oil exploration costs in general as tradition sources dwindle (shifts from light crude -> heavy oil which requires more expensive processing).
  • However
  • in much of the world the infrastructure and technology to utilize renewable sources of energy is not yet in place or too expensive to implement.  Furthermore, it is those parts of the world where most of the population and economic growth is happening (Africa, India, Economy of the Arab League).