Oil Industry Needs $55 Crude to Turn Around

Oil Industry Needs $55 Crude to Turn AroundOil Industry Needs $55 Crude to Turn Around

Crude at $55 a barrel is the magic number for the oil and gas industry to turn around, Wood Mackenzie said in a new report, as the consultancy sounded an optimistic note on recent joint production cut announcements by OPEC and major non-OPEC countries. If the cuts materialize to push oil prices up sustainably to $55 a barrel or more, the oil and gas industry will turn cash flow positive in 2017, marking the first upturn for the sector since a prolonged downturn that started in the summer of 2014, CNBC reported.

“If we stay (at $55 a barrel), the world’s biggest oil companies start to make money again. If we go back down to $50 (or lower) in 2017 ... then those companies are in negative territory and they go back into survival mode where they have been in the last two years,” said Angus Rodger, the consultancy’s research director for upstream oil and gas. He expects OPEC and major non-OPEC countries that have pledged production cuts recently to mostly comply with their promise to cut a collective 1.8 million barrels a day from the market.

At a compliance level around 75%, oil will average $57 a barrel through 2017, Rodger added. Global benchmark Brent trade at $55.22 a barrel on Tuesday and US West Texas Intermediate futures moved up to $52.15 a barrel.

Going into 2018 will be “tough” for the oil industry as higher fossil fuel prices will help shale production, that will weigh on oil prices again. Other factors, such as a strong dollar and demand will also influence prices, Rodger said.

Wood Mackenzie is forecasting oil prices averaging $55 a barrel in the next few quarters before they hit $60 a barrel by the end of 2017.


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