Crude-oil prices: the new normal

Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Date: 17-04-2015
Source: The Economist

oil pricesAn oil-price collapse is now as unlikely as a spike. The new normal lies between $50 and $70, with America replacing Saudi Arabia as the swing producer. For the sheikhs, political reasons determined output; for America’s shalemen, however, only market signals matter. Though the rig count has fallen by half, the International Energy Agency reckons that American oil production will decline only slightly by the fourth quarter of this year, from 12.6m barrels a day to 12.5m. That has created a “fracklog”—up to 800,000 b/d which will come into production if prices rally. Meanwhile OPEC—despite frantic entreaties from Russia—keeps putting market share first: prices are down by 45% but Saudi Arabia is pumping at a near-record rate of 10.1m b/d. As always, a big upset in the Middle East could change the outlook. But the lesson from America is that technology and finance are trumping…

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