OPEC, IEA and Others Slash Oil Price Forecasts

oil prices

It looks like oil prices are likely to stay in the $40-$50 range for the remainder of the year, at least according to OPEC, due to a global glut of oil production and slowing demand from China.

It’s a sharp drop form the more than $70 a barrel price OPEC had previously forecasted for 2015. The OPEC estimate, however, is not nearly as grim as the one issued by Goldman Sachs. In a report last Friday, the firm said the oil market is “even more oversupplied than we expected,” and the surplus of oil in the US could continue well into 2016 or beyond, pushing prices to new lows.

Goldman Sachs’ forecasted oil prices of $38 a barrel for October, down from a previous 1-month outlook of $45 a barrel. The firm slashed all of its forecasts:

  • 3-month forecast: $42 a barrel, from $49
  • 6-month forecast: $40, from $54
  • 1-year forecast: $45 a barrel, from $60

Goldman Sachs also said oil prices could even fall to near $20 a barrel if US oil supplies increase further.

However, oil companies are expected to make cuts in production during the new year. Companies will likely be forced to do so, actually, the International Energy Agency reported last week. Tight oil production would drop by 400,000 barrels a day next year, the agency said, continuing a trend that began this summer. Tight oil is a type of crude that is expensive to pump from the ground but has also driven overall production in the US in recent years, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Energy Information Administration also expects a drop in US oil production over the next year. Production peaked at 9.6 million barrels a day in April, the highest level seen since 1971. But production has been falling since and will continue to do so, the agency said. Production is expected to fall to 8.8 million barrels a day in 2016, the agency said.

The EIA also lowered its price forecast for US global crude benchmarks to $53.57 a barrel in 2016, a 1.6% drop from what it previously predicted. Its forecast for Brent also declined to $58.57 a barrel, down 1.4% from a previous forecast.

For some perspective, the average price of US crude was $93.17 a barrel in 2014. Brent crude averaged $98.89 a barrel in 2014.

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