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Russia sees oil market balance in 2017

Data from the IEA this week suggest production slowing down while demand grows.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russia sees oil market balance in 2017
A balance between supply and demand in the energy markets likely won't return until next year, a Russian report finds. Photo by alphaspirit/Shutterstock

MOSCOW, May 13 (UPI) -- Barring any compromise among OPEC members or a serious degradation in Middle East security, oil markets won't balance until next year, Russian analysis finds.

Crude oil prices started moving below $100 per barrel in mid 2014 as energy companies ramped up production, notably in U.S. shale basins. The excess of supply has lingered for years as global economic recovery is too slow to correct the imbalance.

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Vygon Consulting, a research group with headquarters in Moscow, said that if members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agree on steps to curb production, markets could return to balance. That hinges on Iran, from which the report said most of the new production from OPEC originates.

"The balance may only be reached in case the OPEC member-states strike a compromise or if the geopolitical situation in the Middle East seriously worsens," the report said. "Otherwise, the excess of oil will persist throughout 2017."

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The report from Moscow contrasts with indications market balance is returning. The International Energy Agency this week reported growth in new crude oil production was slowing at the same time that demand was growing.

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For nearly two years, crude oil markets have been pressured by global economic growth that was too slow to take up the heavy supply of energy products. Russia and some members of OPEC had considered a production freeze to correct the balance, though that deal fell apart because of reluctance from Iran.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak helped coordinate early 2016 proposals for a production freeze following February meetings with his counterparts from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. OPEC members could revisit the issue at the June meeting in Vienna and Novak this week said there's been no invitation extended to the Russian government to attend the summit.

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