The Strategist

IEA: Growth in oil production in the US will spoil OPEC's expectations

12/15/2017 - 13:48

The International Energy Agency (IEA) raised the forecast for oil demand by 0.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 and 2018, that is, to 97.8 million bpd and 99.1 million bpd, respectively. At the same time, the agency kept the forecast for growth in demand unchanged: it will increase by 1.5 million bpd, or 1.6%, in 2017 and 1.3 million bpd, or 1.3%, in 2018, says the IEA’s December report.

In November, the global supply of oil increased by 0.2 million bpd, to the maximum level for the year, and reached 97.8 million bpd due to a sharp increase in production in the United States. Nevertheless, this figure still does not reach the level of the last year, when Russia and the Middle Eastern countries-members of OPEC sharply increased production before the reduction.

Production in OPEC countries in November fell to 32.36 million bpd, which is 1.3 million bpd less than a year earlier. The strongest fall has been observed in Saudi Arabia, Angola and Venezuela. The cartel’s members fulfilled the plan to reduce production by 115%, with the average reduction in 2017 increased to 91% of the planned level. Other participants in the OPEC + deal fulfilled the plan only in November by 96% against 111% a month earlier, on average for the year - by 83%.

Against the background of OPEC countries and their partners’ decision to extend the reduction in production in the next year, taken in November, it will remain at the same level, the IEA believes. However, the increase in production growth rates in the United States forced the agency to raise forecasts for production growth in this country to 390 thousand bpd in 2017 and up to 870 thousand bpd in 2018. In general, the IEA expects an increase in production from non-OPEC countries by 0.6 million bpd in 2017 and by 1.6 million bpd in 2018. In addition to the United States, which will account for about 75% of this growth, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan will increase their production.

This means that the year 2018 may not be so favorable for OPEC countries. After the conference in Vienna, they expected further narrowing of the gap between demand and production by 500 thousand bpd, the IEA states. The overall global growth in supply can exceed demand growth. In the first half of the year the surplus may amount to 200 thousand bpd, having been replaced, however, by a similar deficit in the second half of the year. Thus, in general, the market will remain balanced by the end of the year, the agency predicts.