In recent years, US shale has thrown in another unknown in the mix of factors driving the price of oil. This year, shale output forecasts combine with OPEC’s production cuts, geopolitical factors, and unexpected outages to further complicate supply/demand and oil price forecasts by Wall Street’s major investment banks.
The biggest banks remain bullish on oil prices, expecting moderate price gains by the end of the year, even after last month WTI prices dropped below US$50 for a couple of weeks.
But analyst projections about oil global supply and demand are increasingly diverging, because expectations of the combined effects of OPEC’s cuts, US shale production, new oil discoveries, and new project start-ups also differ a lot.
Goldman Sachs, for example, expects a 'material oversupply' in 2018-2019, due to the increase in mega projects production in 2017-19 as a result of the record spending in those projects between 2011 and 2013. Short-cycle shale output will also add to the glut, says Goldman, projecting an additional 1 MM bpd to global supply by 2018-2019 coming from the mega projects sanctioned before the oil price crash and from U.S. shale output.
Morgan Stanley, however, begs to differ, and has recently said that “by 2020, we estimate that [around] 1.5 MM bpd of demand will need to come from projects that have not been sanctioned yet, but that have break-even oil prices of US$70-75 a barrel.”
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 16 September 2019 – Brent: US$69/b; WTI: US$63/b
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