NewsOPEC+ Rules in an Increasingly Tight Oil Market

OPEC+ Rules in an Increasingly Tight Oil Market

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova – Apr 10, 2024, 7:00 PM CDT

  • Citadel’s Barrack: The OPEC+ group has “definitely regained control” of the market.
  • The market is growing increasingly bullish on oil, expecting robust global demand growth and supply constraints, including OPEC and Russia’s production cuts, to push prices even higher in the summer.
  • Vitol expects robust global oil demand growth in 2024, at around 1.9 million barrels per day.

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The OPEC+ group is firmly back in control of the oil market and has the power to have it extremely tight in the second half of the year should it choose to do so, industry executives and hedge fund managers say.

The market is growing increasingly bullish on oil, expecting robust global demand growth and supply constraints, including OPEC and Russia’s production cuts, to push prices even higher in the summer.    

With Brent oil prices breaking above $90 a barrel, there is room for further upside amid tighter markets and heightened geopolitical risks, investment banks say, not ruling out $100 oil this year.

The trajectory of oil prices over the next year is largely in the hands of the OPEC+ alliance of the top Middle Eastern producers and Russia, according to Sebastian Barrack, head of commodities at hedge fund giant Citadel, which had $61 billion in investment capital as of April 1.

The OPEC+ group has “definitely regained control” of the market, Barrack said at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week.

If the alliance decides in early June to keep its current cuts after the end of the first half, we could see an “extremely tight” oil market in the second half of the year, Citadel’s executive said, adding that the timing of OPEC+’s potentially eased cuts and their volume “will define where prices go in the next 12 months.”

Right now, prices are going up, as geopolitical concerns linger in the Middle East, demand holds strong and could turn out stronger than expected, and supply and infrastructure issues hold back production and exports, from Mexico to Russia.

Top traders and forecasters, as well as investment banks, have upgraded their price and demand forecasts in recent weeks.

Oil prices are set to trade in the range between $80 and $100 per barrel this year, Russell Hardy, chief executive at Vitol Group, said at the FT summit this week.

The world’s largest independent oil trader also expects robust global oil demand growth in 2024, at around 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) higher than in 2023, Hardy said.

If this forecast pans out, this year’s growth in oil consumption will not be too far off the bumper increase in demand in 2023.

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