Oil prices in 2019
Where are oil prices headed? In the long run, the slowly rising global demand for energy will not be enough to offset the declining costs of extraction. In the short term, much depends on how U.S. producers, whose shareholders are dissatisfied with the return on their fracking investments so far. They, the Russians and the Saudis would all like to see prices go higher. Can they reach a fragile deal to restrain production?
2019 Global Outlook: Market forces move developments in energy
2019 begins with the U.S. a dominant producer of oil and gas, while OPEC has allied with countries like Russia to try to put a floor under prices. Green energy sources continue to rise in popularity, but still have only a small impact on global consumption. And while developed nations phase out coal, developing countries will likely remain dependent on the fuel for the foreseeable future. How will all of these factors affect the global energy market going forward?
Angola’s new leader reaches out to the West for help
Angola has recently become one of the most stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It now hopes to rebuild its agriculture, education and navy, as well as jump-start investment in the oil sector and broaden its foreign relations base to include Western powers – all before deteriorating living conditions turn the population against the government of Gen. Joao Lourenco.
Venezuela: How not to run an oil sector
Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves but it is not even one of the top 10 global oil producers – and output is falling sharply. Socialist, resource-nationalist policies implemented by former President Hugo Chavez – and continued by President Nicolas Maduro today – are behind the country’s poor performance. With an utter economic dependence on oil, the country has become destitute. Only a drastic change in policy can reverse Venezuela’s course.
OPEC’s next phase
OPEC has regained influence on the back of its cooperation with Russia. Some analysts suggest this partnership could be made more formal, for example by admitting Russia into the group, while others say doing so would make the organization even more unwieldy. Now, as OPEC continues to try to achieve “fair” and stable prices, it faces a new challenge: legislation in the U.S. could allow American officials to sue the organization for price fixing.
Global competition for upstream oil and gas investment
The international energy community is usually divided on oil prices, since consumers like prices low and producers prefer them high. But one thing everyone agrees on is that the current environment of low oil prices is not encouraging investment, which could trigger an energy crisis down the road. This reasoning is logical, but overly simplistic.
Increasing oil competition in Asia
The first supertanker bearing U.S. crude oil to Asia after a 40-year export embargo was liftd left the Gulf Coast of Louisiana in February 2018. The event was hailed as the start of a new oil trading era, and possibly the start of a war for market share in Asia between U.S. shale producers and conventional exporters from the Middle East. In fact, of all oil exporters to Asia, the Middle Eastern producers should be the least concerned.
Oil market rebalancing and the future of ‘OPEC+’
In 2016, some oil-producing countries that were not part of OPEC joined with the cartel to agree on production cuts to shore up oil prices. At the time, plenty of observers were skeptical the group would hold together. But not only did it manage to implement the reductions (and extend them twice), it has put a floor under oil prices. Now that prices are rising, many again doubt the alliance will survive. But the realities of the oil market continue to make cooperation beneficial, especially for the two leading countries: Saudi Arabia and Russia.