McKinsey forecasts ‘lower-for-longer’ N. Sea crude oil price will spill over into 2017

leaking-oil-barrelA data and analytics specialist that provides market intelligence to the global energy industry, is forecasting that it will take at least six months for the oil markets to fully rebalance and for N. Sea and global crude oil prices to rise.

In its latest research, McKinsey Energy Insights says that the pace and timing of an oil price recovery depends on four key drivers in the short-term:

  • GDP growth
  • Decline in producing fields
  • Slowdown in US light tight oil <shale> production and
  • OPEC Gulf state behaviour, in particular, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

McKinsey modelled four scenarios – fast recovery, slow recovery, under-investment and supply abundance – and the latest trends point towards a slow market recovery scenario.

In this case, the market will take another six months for oversupply to disappear and another six to 12 months to burn excess inventories. In the long-term, continuous cost compression efforts could reduce average marginal costs to $65-75 per barrel, driven by deep-water and tight oil plays.

Last week, the average price of Brent crude was $48.17-barrel.

James Eddy, Head of MEI, said: “The market is recovering but this may be slower than previously expected. We expect demand growth to decelerate as a result of slowing economic development and structural shifts in the transport sector.

“On the supply side, in addition to OPEC Gulf crude production, we see unconventionals <shale oil and gas>  and offshore resources playing an important role in replacing the 34 million barrels per day (Mbd) decline in conventional basins through 2030.”

The research also notes that there is a key short-term risk that OPEC Gulf members have the capacity to add more than 3-4 Mbd incremental production by 2019. This could potentially stifle oil prices further into 2018-19.

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