Future oil prices dependent on US-Saudi relations

One of the questions haunting exploration and production (E&P) companies is how soon and how much oil prices will go up by end of this year? Te reply is simple, hike in price is dependent on how much output producers are willing to relinquish.

Therefore the first point to explore is who will take the lead in cutting down output first.

The western media is still keeping the hype that Saudi Arabia has to cut its output but the biggest stumbling blocks are Iran and Iraq. It continues to spread disinformation that since Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to be the worst foes, any reduction in output by Saudi Arabia remains a remote possibility.

According to a Reuters report, “Oil rose to a one-year high on optimism regarding a future agreement between OPEC and major producers to restrict output”

It also said, “Significant doubts whether they (production cut targets) will actually be fulfilled as the rivalry between OPEC members, who are fighting aggressively for global markets share, could prevent an effective deal.”

As per report, Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients on Tuesday that despite a production cut becoming a “greater possibility”, markets were unlikely to rebalance in 2017. The rationale was, “Higher production from Libya, Nigeria and Iraq are reducing the odds of such a deal rebalancing the oil market in 2017 and even if OPEC producers and Russia implemented strict cuts, higher prices would allow U.S. shale drillers to raise output.

Initially, I had a point of view that most of the shale oil producers were unable to continue production below US$50 barrel due to accumulated losses. Now, believe that they have withstood the test, which is evident from the persistent increase in the number of active rigs. However, the number of operating rigs is still less than 25% of total installed rigs.

Moral of the story is that shale oil producers are more anxiously awaiting hike in price but out of desperation they want to increase the number of operating rigs and snatch Saudi share as early as possible. They have invested billions of dollars hoping that oil price would not fall below US$50/barrel. The crash that began in 2014 has shattered their dreams. Even geopolitical turmoil in MENA has failed in deterring OPEC members, mostly located in the region where proxy wars have been going on for more than last two years.


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