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IEA Says $65 Oil 'Ambitious'

Higher oil prices will enable US shale producers to bring more rigs online.Higher oil prices will enable US shale producers to bring more rigs online.

Despite a recent OPEC agreement to cut oil production and boost prices, it is unrealistic to expect that the commodity will reach $65 a barrel in the near term, an analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency told CNBC.

"I think $63, $65 a barrel for Brent might be a little bit ambitious … if the price goes too high then that is going to attract a lot of investment in other parts of the world, principally the US shale producers," Neil Atkinson, head of the oil industry and markets division at the IEA told CNBC on Friday.

OPEC countries reached an agreement last November to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day to support oil prices and tackle three-consecutive years of falling investment. In early December, some non-OPEC countries, such as Russia, joined their efforts and promised to cut output by nearly 600,000 barrels per day.

The six-month agreement had its first test in January. Analysts are watching closely whether OPEC and non-OPEC members stick to their commitments. A large number of oil experts do not expect 100% compliance. According to Atkinson, so far, "They are doing quite well … the signs are quite encouraging that production has been cut back quite significantly in January."

A Reuters survey, published this week, showed at the end of January OPEC members cut production by 958,000 barrels per day, equating to an 82% compliance of what they initially pledged. 

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