Wood Mac: Don't expect an OPEC-fueled rally in crude oil prices

Report finds that crude oil prices likely won't move about an average of $60 per barrel short-term.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  May 25, 2017 at 6:32 AM
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May 25 (UPI) -- An extension of a managed production decline agreement led by OPEC won't have much of a long-term impact on crude oil prices, Wood Mackenzie found.

Parties to a measure coordinated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are meeting in Vienna to review an agreement to sideline about 1.8 million barrels per day from the market in order to offset strains from the supply side. Russia, the largest contributor to the agreement that's not a member of OPEC, and Saudi Arabia last week proposed extending the deal for nine months, instead of the six months outlined in the original agreement. That proposal led to a multi-session rally in crude oil prices that erased much of what was lost during the first quarter to lingering pressure from the glut.

Members of a joint monitoring committee, with includes Russia, recommended Wednesday that the agreement last until March 2018. A report published after market hours Wednesday by Wood Mackenzie found that, while deeper cuts are on the table, the most likely scenario for the multilateral effort is the nine-month extension.

"A nine-month extension would have little impact on our price forecast for 2017, which is for an annual average of $55 per barrel for Brent," the report read. "Into 2018, we expect Brent would average at least $55 per barrel on a monthly basis."

The price for Brent crude oil was about $53 per barrel at 6 a.m. EDT and moving lower from the previous close. Brent, the global benchmark for the price of oil, has traded this year in a range between $46.60 per barrel and $56.30 per barrel.

Wood Mackenzie's forecast followed speculation Tuesday from Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq, who said "all options are on the table" to balance the market, but a "remarkable leap in prices" was not expected for the rest of 2017.

A forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration published before the proposal to extend the agreement by nine months put the average price for Brent at $53 per barrel in 2017 and $57 per barrel next year. Wood Mackenzie said that, if meetings Thursday result in agreements to a deeper cut in production, oil would move to just over $60 per barrel.

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