Vitol: Oil to Struggle at $60 in 2016

Vitol: Oil to Struggle at $60 in 2016Vitol: Oil to Struggle at $60 in 2016

Vitol, the world's largest oil trader, believes the crude price will struggle to trade above $60 a barrel next year, as the effects of slowing global demand growth could be compounded by a return of Iranian and maybe even Libyan barrels.

Ian Taylor, the chief executive of Vitol, said he expected consumption in China to increase next year, but global demand growth would likely still fall short of the levels seen this year, Reuters reported.

"Will we get 1.7 million barrels a day in 2016? No. I don't think so and that's one of my worries. If we did get 1.7 million bpd in 2016, then we could easily get to $60, but I don't think we will," he said.

"Can I see a big run next year? No. If we are above $60 by the end of 2016, I will be a little bit surprised."

The price of oil has halved over the last 12 months, mainly as a result of unprecedented levels of production from some major exporting countries, but also as demand from China and other commodity consumers, such as Brazil and Russia, slackened.

Taylor said his company forecast global oil demand growth in 2016 to reach around 1.35 million barrels per day, slowing from this year's strong expected growth of 1.7 million bpd.

Cheap oil encouraged record refining runs, but even this has not been enough to absorb oversupply and, as such, the price has held below $50 a barrel for much of the second half of this year. The International Energy Agency forecasts demand growth of 1.21 million bpd in 2016.

Meanwhile, some analysts draw a better outlook for the struggling oil market. David Pursell, managing director at Tudor Pickering Holt, says the fall of oil supply in non-OPEC countries could signal higher demand and send oil prices to as high as $80 a barrel.

"I think you have to believe that the market is not as oversupplied as consensus believes," he said.

Pursell said inventories are already more balanced compared with the second quarter of this year. In addition, demand growth will continue, as non-OPEC supply falls next year.

"That puts the market clearly undersupplied by the back half of 2016; that's not tomorrow but those factors coupled into the equation boil out to be $80."